Reading: Countering Entropy in The Crying of Lot 49 with Reader Involvement: Remedios Varo as a Role ...

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Countering Entropy in The Crying of Lot 49 with Reader Involvement: Remedios Varo as a Role Model for Oedipa Maas

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William Day

University of Louisville
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Abstract

The Crying of Lot 49 is often relegated to a sort of secondary status within Thomas Pynchon’s novelistic production. It has been highly criticized for its lack of resolution, and students reading it were said to fall into one of two groups: “those who hated the novel, and those who hated it a lot.” And yet, its manageable size and tightly (dis)organized focus make it the most accessible of Pynchon’s novels, if not the best understood. To a great extent, failure to understand the novel is the result of insufficient reader involvement. Pynchon requires far more from us than careful reading, he compels us as readers to go outside the novel and in this way participate actively in its construction. Entropy is frequently addressed by the author in his short stories and novels, and receives particular attention in Lot 49. Could reader input possibly serve to counterbalance entropy? Are we as readers expected to participate actively in the construction of Thomas Pynchon’s work and in so doing enable its uniqueness? The input of additional effort required on the part of the reader in researching areas for proper understanding of the novel may well be Pynchon’s way of combating the entropic nature of communication. Typically, Pynchon never overtly tells the reader to look outside the confines of the novel. The act of reading Lot 49 therefore proves either a highly exhilarating or deeply stressful experience, depending on the type and extent of reader involvement.
How to Cite: Day, W., (2009). Countering Entropy in The Crying of Lot 49 with Reader Involvement: Remedios Varo as a Role Model for Oedipa Maas. Pynchon Notes. (56-57), pp.30–45. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/pn.3
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Published on 22 Sep 2009.
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