47 pages 1 hour read

Thomas Pynchon


Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1963

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Important Quotes

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“Isn’t that what we all want, Benny? Just a little peace. Nobody jumping out and biting you on the ass.”

(Chapter 1, Page 5)

Paola’s complaints about Pig are a microcosm of her life and the society she inhabits. She wants to be left alone, to avoid harassment and violence in favor of “a little peace” (5), something which few people in her alienated, atomized society get.

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“Individuals do what they want, but the chain goes on and small forces like me will never prevail against it.”

(Chapter 2, Page 20)

Schoenmaker describes a form of feigned helplessness, using a real social and philosophical issue to cynically justify his greed and desire for profit. He is not overselling cosmetic surgery to insecure women, he tells Rachel, he is simply performing his role as part of a broken society.

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“He will straddle the line aware up to the point of knowing he is getting the worst of both worlds, but never stopping to wonder why there should ever have been line, or even if there is a line at all.”

(Chapter 2, Page 25)

The characters that inhabit the novel’s confusing world often retreat into a search for identity: If they cannot understand their environment, they can at least attempt to understand themselves. As a result, they are eager to categorize themselves into groups. However, because they are too scared to commit to any one identity, in the end, they commit to nothing.