So after class yesterday, I was thinking about how Gravity’s Rainbow has been a difficult text for everyone thus far. Personally, I’m also frustrated with the novel frequently because I can’t comprehend what is going on. I realized that I am not as great at interpreting literature as I thought, which is rather disheartening because being an English major I feel like I should be able to understand this novel, but I don’t. So reading this novel has been a rather humbling experience. I started to consider why Pynchon decided to write his novel in such a complex and often confusing way. Perhaps it is just his writing style, but there is probably more to it than that. Maybe one of the purposes of his difficult writing style in the novel is to serve as an equalizer amongst all of his readers. What I mean to say is, is that everyone seems to be collectively puzzled by Pynchon’s novel no matter what reading background they come from. Even those who are usually on top of close interpretations of more profound novels, nevertheless seem to be stumped by Pynchon’s work. This confusion seems to put all of Pynchon’s readers on an equal playing field. It doesn’t matter who you are or how smart you are. Your interpretation of the novel could be as valid as any other reader’s.
I thought this might relate to one of the themes we discussed in class about Calvinism and the distinction between the elect and the preterite. It was discussed that Pynchon’s stories often centralized among the members of the preterite which could mean that he may have found the members of the preterite or “underdogs” of society worthier to write about as opposed to members of the elect, who believe they are superior to everyone else. By doing this Pynchon amplifies the importance of the preterite as opposed to the elect, equalizing the two groups. Granted we are still very early in the novel and I am still unsure how this theme is going to lay itself out in the storyline, but maybe Pynchon plans to make a stand that there isn’t a true distinction between the elect and preterite. No one is born better than someone else. In reality we are all born the same way. We are equal to each other. So relating the complicated storyline as a whole to this theme, maybe Pynchon’s writing style seeks to humble its readers (especially those who may fall under the “elect” group in society) in which we are forced to realize that we may not be as smart or great as we think we are; therefore we aren’t better than anyone else.
I know I don’t have a full understanding of this particular theme of the novel, and that I am merely attempting to scratch the surface of it. However, I would like to know what anyone else thinks about whether this theme could correlate with Pynchon’s writing style. Additionally, I am sure there are other reasons behind Pynchon’s writing of course. Does anyone have any other ideas of what could be the purpose or reasoning behind Pynchon’s complicated writing style?