Thomas Pynchon’s "The Crying of Lot 49": A Hyper-real Apocalypse

By Sima Farshid and Hanieh MehreMotlaq.

Published by The International Journal of Literary Humanities

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 13, 2014 $US5.00

In “The Crying of Lot 49” (1966), Thomas Pynchon depicts a world in which numerous messages are recurrently generated via simulations and the proliferation of signs increases so incessantly that the original aim of their production is eventually overlooked. The protagonist of the novel is constantly bombarded by an ever-increasing excess of information that makes her life chaotic, seeing that the more she attempts to find out answers to the puzzling questions raised in her mind, the more she gets lost in a net of seemingly associated but actually unrelated data. Suffering from the consequent uncertainty and perplexity, she gradually reaches a state of indifference which is considered in this article an entropic and hence apocalyptic state. Moreover it is discussed here that by exposing the fictional, hyper-real replications of catastrophic historical events of the twentieth century in his novel, Pynchon deviates from the traditional view of history as a linear movement, and envisages an approaching apocalypse for the world. These points are discussed in this article with regard to Baudrillard’s theories of “Simulacra and Simulation” and “The End of History” to attest “The Crying of Lot 49” as an apocalyptic text.

Keywords: Simulation, Simulacra, Hyper-real, Entropy, Apocalypse

The International Journal of Literary Humanities, Volume 11, Issue 2, March 2014, pp.17-25. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 13, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 460.069KB)).

Dr. Sima Farshid

Assistant Professor, English Department, Islamic Azad University, Karaj Branch, Karaj, Alborz, Iran (Islamic Republic of)

She is an assistant professor who mostly teaches modern fiction and drama. She has taught English and American literature for 16 years, has been the head of English Department for 4 years and directed graduate studies in English literature for 3 years at Islamic Azad University, Karaj Branch. She has written several articles – published in national and international academic journals, has translated some books from English into Persian, including Saul Bellow's Herzog and Raman Selden's Reading Theory and Practicing Literature.

Hanieh MehreMotlaq

Graduate Student, English Department, Islamic Azad University, Karaj Branch, Tehran, Tehran, Iran (Islamic Republic of)

She has studied English Literature at Alzahra University and Islamic Azad University, Karaj Branch, and has taken her MA degree from the latter.