72 pages 2 hours read

Thomas Pynchon

Gravity's Rainbow

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1973

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Important Quotes

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“Invisible, yes, what do the furnishings matter, at this stage of things?”

(Part 1, Page 5)

Throughout Gravity’s Rainbow, characters search for meaning in a world that is rapidly losing all rules, barriers, and substance. The former states and confines of the world have become invisible due to a deeper societal trauma that cannot be remedied. However, trying to describe such a diffuse, nebulous problem makes the matter practically invisible to most people, who feel it only as a constant, nagging pain. With such a fundamental, seemingly unresolvable, and invisible problem at the heart of the society, minor aesthetic differences do not matter. The furnishings are irrelevant when the room itself is fundamentally the issue.

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“Once upon a time Slothrop cared. No kidding. He thinks he did, anyway.”

(Part 1, Page 17)

Slothrop cared once, but—like many characters—he has become so alienated from society that he has stopped feeling anything. In trying to describe this alienation, Slothrop cannot even remember whether he ever did care. The scattering and fragmentation of his sense of identity means he cannot even relate to his past self, becoming unable to remember whether there was even a time when he had any investment in society at all.

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“But where is the war?”

(Part 1, Page 42)

World War II is a global trauma that traps the characters in a mire of pain and suffering. However, the novel takes place during the final days of the war when the result seems inevitable and the characters are inexorably moving toward the conclusion, playing their roles disinterestedly to the point where they can no longer even point out the location of the war.