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The Crying of Lot 49

Thomas Pynchon

Chapter 6, Part II

Summary Chapter 6, Part II

In other words, no matter how the "crying" goes, it does not matter. It could be Pierce, it could be anybody, but what that means is uncertain. As the narrator says, "Those, now that she was looking at them, she saw to be alternatives." The Crying of Lot 49 displays a fragmented world in which there are always more alternatives, in which information leads to more information rather than to answers. In the face of such an onslaught of information communication breakdowns, people feel compelled to impose interpretations that might not fit for the simple reason that they want some "constellation" that they can recognize and hold on to. The Crying of Lot 49 is a detective story, but the puzzle it tries to solve, like culture, which constantly emerges out of itself, is infinite. And there is no answer to infinity, there is only voyage. In trying to create order, Oedipa alienates herself from the very world she is trying to organize. As the novel demonstrates in the Tristero conspiracy Oedipa vainly tries to solve, in the ending that is no standard ending at all, and within the larger structures of its own self-abnegating language and style, there can be no final answer, no true ending, ever.

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