On page 51 DeLillo talks about how secrets and information "This is what he knows, that the genius of the bomb is printed not only in its physics of particles and rays, but in the occasion it creates for new secrets." The CW was really all about who could keep secrets better: everything was kept underground and information had to be hoarded because if the other side found out about anything then they had more power. This calls to mind Pychon's line "Is it any wonder the world's gone insane, with information come to be the only real medium of exchange?" Although the books may or may not relate to different wars (WWII vs.
"Ah, they do bother him, these free women in their teens, their spirits are so contagious" and to the side of a 'song', the sidenote "Where did the swing band come from? She's bouncing up and down, she wants to be jitterbugged, he sees she wants to (italics) lose her gravity (end italics)" from page 547 (ya, I still don't know how to do italics...)
This seems to imply that teen women are spirited, and by the dance theme, happy. Teens may be the children of the war, seeing as we haven't actually been introduced to any children who didn't behave like teenagers if not adults. Even Bianca and Ilse, as far as I know the youngest characters, hardly have any child-like attributes. This would mean that teens are the most innocent of all the characters, which as we've talked about is not the case. A teen is also an age between child and adult, between a 0 and a 1.
I know the idea of ones and zeros has been talked about before in both class and in the blog, though the only instance I can think of off the top of my head is regarding Roger Mexico being the in-between to Poinstman's ones and zeros. On page 410 the idea comes up again, this time relating to personal peace. "We live lives that are waveforms constantly changing with time, now positive, now negative. Only at moments of great serenity is it possible to find the pure, the informationless state of signal zero." There are several very interesting things about this quote, one of which is the continuation of the one-zero theme. Also, I find it really strange that he would say that serenity=informationless, like ignorance is bliss. It's also funny because Pynchon goes on to say "Closest to zero among them all, perhaps, was the African Enzian"...I'm not entirely sure what the significance is of Enzian being "at peace" but I feel like there must be something.
When Tchitcherine goes to the Kazakh village to record the aqyn's song, he hears an ajtys: a singing duel. Tchitcherine of course thinks of it in terms of language and the alphabet that he works for. (by the way, what is the letter under which he works?) On page 362 he "understands, abrubtly, that soon someone will come out and begin to write some of these down in the New Turkish Alphabet he helped frame...and this is how they will be lost." He comes to the realization that the voices of the boy and the girl in the singing duel, a Kazakh tradition, will fade out as other cultures try to compartmentalize and even preserve the old ways through a new alphabet.
Semyavin, to Slothrop (261) "Life was simple before the first war. You wouldn't remember. Drugs, sex, luxury items. Currency in those days was no more than a sideline, and the term 'industrial espionage' was unknown...Is it any wonder the world's gone insane, with information come to be the only real medium of exchange?"
I'm not sure if Pynchon wrote this as pertaining to wartime vs. peacetime (information being the currency of war?) but it made me think of changes in education over time. Today we seek information in the form of education much more vehemently than ever before and competition for good colleges is at its highest.
I find myself, like many of you, enjoying this book despite the density of every paragraph. Pynchon has done an amazing amount of research and frankly I'm a little embarrassed at the effort it takes me to read his book: I can't even imagine writing it.
One of the most rewarding things about reading this are the simple descriptions Pynchon provides. Often he couples a noun with an adjective that fits so perfectly that you wonder why the two words aren't used together more often. "A cold smear of sun", "slate shadows", "a silly bleeding smile".....they sound so natural and describe something so perfectly that I sometimes have to stop and think if I've heard them before.
Upon reading the first 150 pages of this lengthy and multi-faceted novel, I have come upon a quick realization. At first, I was a little ashamed, feeling as if I was acting frivolous and shallow, but now I see a few pertinent reasons behind my discovery. I have discovered that my favorite parts of this novel thus far are the romantic scenes, preferably the ones with Roger and Jessica. This is not because I have a soft spot for relationships and bonding or because I like to read Pynchon's rather graphic descriptions of budoir activities, but rather because I feel like these scenes are the most telling to me. They are a little easier for me to read and they are absolutely full of interesting, poignant statements and symbolism.