Reading: Vineland and Dobie Gillis


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Vineland and Dobie Gillis


Rhonda Wilcox

Gordon College
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Towards the end of Vineland, many of the major characters find themselves (or do they?) at the Traverse-Becker family reunion. The gathering both represents the anti-traditional--because this long-time union family sees the California-sized faults in the American political structure in a way many do not--and yet is, by its very nature, a celebration of tradition. Of one of the oldest of traditions, the family meal, Pynchon writes: "It was the heart of this gathering meant to honor the bond between Eula Becker and Jess Traverse, that lay beneath, defined, and made sense of them all … they all kept an eye on the head of the table, where Jess and Eula sat together, each year smaller and more transparent … " (369). It is interesting and perhaps a bit discomforting to note that Eula Becker is also the name of a character in a short story entitled "Love is a Fallacy," by Max Shulman. In fact, she is only referred to rather than presented; specifically, she is referred to as an example of the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy: "Eula Becker, her name is. It never fails. Every single time we take her on a picnic--[it rains]" (272).
How to Cite: Wilcox, R., 1989. Vineland and Dobie Gillis. Pynchon Notes, (24-25), pp.111–112. DOI:
Published on 22 Sep 1989.
Peer Reviewed


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