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Posts Gone By > Gravity's Rainbow: Section 1: Zero, Lt. Slothrop, and V-2 rockets

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message 1: by Michelle, Overrun By Pets (last edited Jan 09, 2016 08:38PM) (new)

Michelle Finazzo | 281 comments ***Open discussion of Section 1 below, no spoiler marks needed. Be sure you have read through this section before reading! Note: if this is your first visit to this topic I recommend you read this post about discussion ideas, then skip down and post your initial response, then read and respond to other people's posts.***

At the very least check in here when you finish this section and tell us if you are enjoying the book. I'll post specific discussion ideas below, along with some general topics we'll see repeated throughout the book.

Mic Breaks Discussions:

1) Are you using a reader's guide to accompany this novel? Has this affected your experience in reading the book?

2) What do you think is the connection between Slothrop's sexual escapades and the V-2 rocket strikes?

3) Many of Pynchon's characters and places have names with duplicate meaning. Which is your favorite and why?

General Discussions:

1) Share your favorite quote(s) from this section.

2) Share your favorite word(s) used in this section.

3) Do you have a favorite or most intriguing character at this point in the novel?

Location Reminder:

If you are returning to this topic after having continued past this section, here is a plot reminder:

Roger ponders mortality and the likelihood of Jessica leaving him for Jeremy while watching Jessica's nieces fight. Jessica thinks she is getting a cold, Roger thinks she is getting infected with the War.

GO!


message 2: by Michelle, Overrun By Pets (last edited Feb 07, 2016 04:43AM) (new)

Michelle Finazzo | 281 comments Reading Guide
Although I have read other Pynchon books, this is the first one I have read in digital form. I am also supplementing the narrative with the Gravity's Rainbow Wiki which includes page-by-page annotations and an alphabetical guide to characters, places, and references. I primarily use the annotations by page and only use the alphabetical listing to review specific things I have forgotten.

This book has taken me FOREVER in digital form. The ease of following rabbit-trails on the Kindle has made it too simple to link to word definitions, Wikipedia articles, videos, and music while trying desperately to move forward in the plot. Mr. Pynchon you make this oh-so-more-difficult by seamlessly weaving invention with historical fact - I'm compelled to ask "is this real or made up" time and again and the rabbit-trails start once more with pictures of ancient cars and articles on movie directors and commentary on old-timey actors and clips of movies. While I have a more comprehensive understanding of the background and history surrounding the book, it has definitely slowed my progress through the novel to a snail's pace. It has also consumed most of my reading time for the past year and has drastically limited my interaction with other books.

I am likely to read the next Pynchon book, whatever that may be, in hard copy in an effort to speed up the process. Maybe I am now more self-aware of my weakness for "investigating everything" and avoiding the book in digital form would help me only look into those topics I absolutely have to know more about because I would have to physically break away from the book in order to do so. Ultimately this may be wishful thinking on my part and I will breakdown and purchase the book electronically again and start a lengthy over-involved endeavor once more.


Slothrop's sexcapades and the rocket
I sometimes enjoy being contrary to the obvious, so I couldn't break the feeling that the rocket was drawn to Slothrop engaging in sexual relationships rather than Slothrop having a psychic link to the rocket and knowing where it was going to land several days in advance. I postulate that the rocket (or whoever was controlling it) is trying to kill Tyrone and just hadn't gotten the timing quite right yet, but will continue to attempt extermination.


Pynchon's characters
I like the audible pronunciation of Joaquin Stick, minor character though he may be. I'm easily entertained with simple humor.

I also enjoy Lord Blatharard Osmo the liason to the Adenoid, both for the "Blather Hard" segment and also "Osmo" aka osmosis which is how the Adenoid takes in its victims. I'm partial to this story line because it reminded me of the classic horror film The Blob - a giant Adenoid traveling through the city gobbling up people.

I am a fan of the Frick Frack Club. It evokes a group of boringly similar men assembling together in a "we stick together" way.

Dr. Porkyevitch's name reminds readers of Porky Pig who will be seen time and again throughout the book.


Favorite Quotes
"PISCES - Psychological Intelligence Schemes for Expediting Surrender. Whose surrender is not made clear."

"..though he's been too shy, or proud, ever to've smiled at Gwenhidwy without some kind of speech to explain and cancel out the smile..."

"..rocket-mysticism--Franz is just the type they want. They know how to use that. They know how to use nearly everybody. What will happen to the ones they can't use?"

"Is that who you are, that vaguely criminal face on your ID card, its soul snatched by the government camera as the guillotine shutter fell--"

"Don't forget the real business of the War is buying and selling. The murdering and the violence are self-policing, and can be entrusted to non-professionals."

"Allowing himself to count only bananas, moving barelegged among the pendulous bunches,among these yellow chandeliers, this tropical twilight..."

"English girls don't know about fireflies, which is about all Slothrop knows for sure about English girls."

"West Indians softly plaiting vowels around less flexible chains of Russian-Jewish consonants."

"Secretaries in woolen shawls and rubber galoshes shiver with the winter cold being inhaled through the madhouse's many crevices, their typewriter keys chattery as their pearlies."


Favorite Words
Naptha winters, mullioned windows, sensitive epicurean, hedgehog-colored cape, quiescent, intaglio, musaceous odor, fungoid mush, boobishly conscientious, and asbestos potholders.


Favorite Character
I developed quite a fondness for Pirate Prentice. I saw him as the cool leader of a rag-tag gang. He has an awesome abode (a war-torn maisonette in Chelsea) and is surrounded by a rotating cast of interesting characters. He has supernatural abilities and is able to interact with other people's dreams and fantasies. Although he works for "the Firm", his true allegiances aren't exactly crystal clear. I'm a sucker for a man of mystery. I also love a man who can cook and Pirate's "Banana Breakfasts" were pretty darn appealing.


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