Communication and Meaning in The Crying of Lot 49
Communication is a core necessity of humanity. It is the cornerstone of development for our society, and indeed for the world. It is the only way to transmit concepts, ideas, and inspirations from one person’s mind to another’s. As sophisticated a race as humans are, there is always room for error, and difficulties in communication are quite abundant. There are also many opportunities for differing interpretations, which eventually leads to a struggle to find a single meaning. The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon is a novel entirely about communication and interpretation of language, whether there are multiple valid meanings or a single one. Pynchon writes about communication having a variety of mediums, and yet what is being said is insignificant. Therefore, the author suggests that the very act of communication is much more powerful than the content itself.
Right from the beginning, Pynchon uses communication to confuse Oedipa, where Pierce is switching between voices, none of which are his own. Pierce uses multiple voices and accents, where he finally settles into a Lamont Cranston voice. “So it was the last of his voices she ever heard. Lamont Cranston” (Pynchon 3). Pierce no longer has his own identity, and therefore, his communication is transformed into random snippets of dialogue that have very little meaning. However, it is the act of Pierce (or Cranston) speaking that gives it meaning, no matter who he is. This concept is played upon many times throughout this book, as well as the idea of mixed interpretations and the perceived world.
In Mexico, Oedipa views the painting “Bordando el Manto Terrestre” by Remedios Varo, and it triggers an intense emotional response within her. “She could carry the sadness of the moment with her that way forever, see the world refracted through those tears, those specific tears” (11). Oedipa feels such a strong connection to the women trapped in their tower, and...