Reading: The Wind At Zwölfkinder: Technology and Personal Identity in Gravity's Rainbow

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The Wind At Zwölfkinder: Technology and Personal Identity in Gravity's Rainbow

Author:

Joseph Tabbi

Massey College, The University of Toronto
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Abstract

In the section of Gravity's Rainbow devoted to the story of Franz and Ilse Pölkler (397-433), Pynchon contrasts two models of scientific thought and perception. Like many characters in the novel, Franz separates the world into subject and object, habitually cutting himself off from outside sources of experience, and grounding his sense of reality in deterministic causal explanations. He is "the cause-and-effect man" (159), thus cast from his earliest appearance in the novel, whose patterns of thought and valuation presume the rigid dualities of Newtonian physics. Against the Newtonian model of the perceiving subject stands the opposing view of modern physics, one which permits no absolute division between the world and its perceiver, and which describes a more elastic reality than previous physical theories, with their reliance on the idea of causality, have been able to allow.
How to Cite: Tabbi, J., (1987). The Wind At Zwölfkinder: Technology and Personal Identity in Gravity's Rainbow. Pynchon Notes. (20-21), pp.69–90. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/pn.335
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Published on 22 Sep 1987.
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