WTF for Gravity’s Rainbow, Week 2
We had two WTFs this week. Read and take a crack at them in the comments if you have any ideas or suggestions.
Are there underlying themes or histories, other than technical texts, that would be helpful in making sense of this? Herero language, European colonialism, the entire war in Britain…it all seems so vast and yet so specific. And I am saying this as a Joycean. Somehow I thought that this novel’s being set 40 years later than Ulysses would make the context easier. Not in the least, even with the companion text. And I am finding it difficult to just enjoy the ride for the beauty of it. But stay I will, if only to read again to see what hindsight might bring to the table! Any thoughts most appreciated!
And from edmondcb:
So at the end of 1.17, Pointsman recalls that Slothrop had been with Darlene, and later a rocket struck only a few blocks away (striking St. Veronica’s hospital). I had assumed that the rockets struck the EXACT location of Slothrop’s sexual encounters, but I tracked back through the book and couldn’t decipher if this was true or if they simply struck in close proximity. Helping justify the latter is the fact that Slothrop has been to Darlene/Ms. Quoad’s before, even tracked her on his map (p. 19), and that exact location was clearly not destroyed. So my assumption was probably just off, though it seems weird that exactitude is such a prominent measure in this book, as with the fact that Slothrop and Mexico’s maps have stickers on the exact same squares, etc.
To muddy the waters even more, the EXACT location the rocket struck is the ward that Slothrop was recently in, being given drugs that caused him to think of shit and history, not of sex. And as far as I know, there was no “hardon” to speak of, which we have been lead to believe would bring a rocket to that exact location.
Am I reading too much into this, or is this supposed to be a shift in the paradigm? I mean, Slothrop did get booted to France…