Reading: Coloring Gravity's Rainbow

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Coloring Gravity's Rainbow

Authors:

N. Katherine Hayles ,

University of Iowa
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Mary B. Eiser

University of Iowa
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Abstract

More than a decade after Gravity's Rainbow first appeared, the central question about this enigmatic text remains unanswered. How can we impute coherence to the text without falling into--or creating--the totalizing structures that the text warns us against? As the "Rainbow" of Pynchon's title suggests, color is an important way in which this question is brought into focus. Most readers are aware that certain colors and color combinations occur repeatedly through the text; but so far no one has connected them either with Pynchon's recurrent themes, or with the more general question of how to reconcile the obviously elaborate patterning of Gravity's Rainbow with its paranoid intuition that all patterns originate in death-obsessed consciousness. Encoded into the color transformations of Gravity's Rainbow are complex responses toward the psychopathologies to which fragmented Western thought gives rise, and the ways in which we as writers and readers get co-opted into participating in and reinforcing this fragmentation.
How to Cite: Hayles, N.K. & Eiser, M.B., (1985). Coloring Gravity's Rainbow. Pynchon Notes. (16), pp.3–24. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/pn.374
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Published on 20 Mar 1985.
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