56 pages 1 hour read

Thomas Pynchon

The Crying of Lot 49

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1966

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Chapter 4Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 4 Summary

When returning to the will, Oedipa notices that Pierce references Yoyodyne Corporation. She remembers passing the corporation's factory while driving to San Narciso, so she decides to attend a stockholders' meeting, as Pierce’s estate holds stocks in the company. There she meets the company president, a man named Clayton Chiclitz. She sees Clayton leading the shareholders in a "Yoyodyne songfest" (61) and takes a tour of the factory. Oedipa slips away from the tour group and finds an office belonging to Stanley Koteks. She sees Stanley drawing a muted post horn while sat at his desk. Oedipa is intrigued by this symbol related to the Tristero (the alternative spelling of Trystero). Announcing herself as a Yoyodyne stockholder, Oedipa enters Stanley's office. He talks to her about the restrictive patent laws in the United States and asks Oedipa whether she can have them changed.

Next, Stanley talks about a Berkeley scientist named John Nefastis, who built the Nefastis Machine, which, in turn, is based on a theoretical device named Maxwell's Demon. The Nefastis Machine is a perpetual-motion device that defies the laws of physics, as it breaks the Second Law of Thermodynamics.