The Crying of Lot 49

The second half of the book picks up speed fast.  After Oedipa begins on her “drift,” starting on page 88, it seems as if she has completely lost herself to the conspiracy.  Although there is evidence of her questioning the truth of it, even that does not stop her.  More and more it seems as if she has no power over it.

Furthermore, in the second half of the book there is the removal of several people, tied to the conspiracy, from Oedipa’s life.  Driblette, Mucho, and Dr. Hilarius are some examples, all of which either die or go straight out of their heads.  There is a scene when Oedipa is sitting with the grad students in Bortz’s house on pages 125 and 126, after she finds out Wharfinger killed himself, when Oedipa recalls all the men in her life are all dead and she exclaims, “Where am I?”  It seems at this point that any hope she ever had of getting out of this thing is gone.  It follows after this her deep delving into the history of Trystero, seeming to take her obsession to the next level.

I really enjoy the book because it shows the woman on the brink of, or already trapped in, insanity.  It takes the reader on this hellish rollercoaster of Oedipa’s quest in such a way that makes the reader feel as if they themselves are going insane.  The second half of the book is much more choppy and confused I found than the first half, this perhaps has to do with the fact that all the qualities of her old life have no evaporated and she now has nothing but this mystery.

I think the ending is well put because it leaves the reader thinking and contemplating whether or not she will ever find out what the conspiracy is, if it exists, or if she imagined it all.  In class people talked about how they liked step by step unveiling of a book, for it’s plot to be concrete and easy to understand.  I do not think Pynchon could have written this book in that manner, or if he did, then it would certainly not have the same effect on the reader.  I think the beauty of the story is it’s leading on of Oedipa, making her question, first the conspiracy, then Inverarity’s involvement, then her life, and finally her sanity.

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