I’ve been kind of quiet here. It’s not because I’m behind or because I’m not enjoying myself. Indeed, I’m really caught up in the book, but with the focus lately on the wild life of Slothrop there wasn’t a lot that I was thinking about aside from reckless speculation about plot.
But this week’s section about parabolas got me thinking outside the plot.
It’s obvious that Pynchon has done his homework for this book. I mean, his knowledge of WWII, Germany and Africa are more than impressive.
I’ve already mentioned a vague parallelism to Ulysses (which I think has fallen by the wayside at this point). So let me posit a new structural question/theory.
Is Gravity’s Rainbow structured in a parabolic arc in any way? (Obviously this cannot be answered and remain within spoiler limits, so tread lightly). I initially thought about this because I found the sections about Enzian and Tchitcherine kind of slow and difficult, especially compared to the fast paced earlier scenes. (A second read made that less so). But it seemed as if the book was moving along pretty briskly and then, just as it reached the center (or thereabouts) of the book, these two sections were heavy and laden with history and back story and complex stuff–very much unlike the Slothrop romp and fun sections. True, there is a Slothrop section in between these dense sections, so that kind of blows the (poor) theory away.
Nevertheless, I wonder if anyone else has noticed any kind of structure to the book as a whole (in the way that Infinite Jest was superficially a Sierpinski Triangle) parabolic or otherwise.