“Oughtn’t he to be doing something… get on to the operations room at Stanmore, they must have it on the Channel radars-no: no time, really. Less than five minutes Hague to here (the time it takes to walk down to the teashop on the corner… for light from the sun to reach the planet of love.. no time at all). Run out in the street? Warn the others? Pick bananas.”
Obviously, this novel takes place right after World War II, in a time when there is still some repercussions going on in a way. This is a very complex novel, and it involves many different themes, some of which are very prevalent early on. Pynchon uses many different angles and themes that had not been used by many others in writing before. I thought this passage very early on in Gravity’s Rainbow was a very interesting one. Even as far into the novel as we are now, this scene is still probably my favorite so far. Not only do I really enjoy this scene, but so far, Pirate is my favorite character in this novel. In this scene, Pirate notices the vapor trail from a rocket, which seems to have reached it’s highest point, and will now begin to fall. He guesses that they have less than five minutes before the rocket will arrive, which is not much time at all. So he has a sort of debate with himself, should he warn the others, or not? Does he even have time? “Pick bananas.” Pirate decides that what he is going to do is pick bananas, and make his famous banana breakfast.
Nobody really knows when the rockets are going to hit. In fact, they mention that by the time you can even hear them coming they have already arrived. So one of the major themes in this section in science, mentioning that the rocket is at the peak of its trajectory, and is “…beginning to fall…now…” It also mentions that the bomb will have arrived before the sun is even completely risen. He seems to be thinking the physics of the bomb through in his head, deciding if he even has time to warn anyone about the approaching bomb, and ultimately deciding he doesn’t have time and should just go about making breakfast.
This passage also uses a little bit of irony, in that he at first seems so worried about warning the others before the rocket hits, and then decides to make breakfast instead. To be calm enough to make breakfast during such a seemingly tense situation seems so strange and ironic to me. This seems like a time that would be filled with panic, worry, and even stress, and at first he expresses all of these emotions. He really seems like he loves to make the breakfast for everyone though, and it’s something that everyone counts on him doing. Also, I just love that he enjoys so much to make the breakfast, and walks himself through the entire process in a way. Through the whole situation he is involved in, he decides that what he needs to do is what he does best, and that is to go pick his bananas, and to just make breakfast. This is an early example of a little bit of the humor that Pynchon uses in this novel as well, and Pynchon doesn’t really seem to be too concerned with people taking him seriously throughout this novel.
Finally, this passage kind of sets up the very beginning of the novel, and gives you an idea of who Pirate is, and sets up the plot of the novel a little bit. It helps the reader to get an idea of what the early stages of this novel are about as well.