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Oboy Oboy

We’ve already had a discussion of Pynchon’s use of “sez” in this book.  There’s another slangy thing in here that I like quite a lot and which appeared a few times in this week’s reading.

It’s the above mentioned “oboy oboy.”

There is something so endearingly childish in this phrase, that I think it really conveys the glee which Slothrop (as I believe it is always him who thinks it) exhibits. I’ve never seen it written that way anywhere else and I find it very effective.

Now I had assumed that this device was littered throughout the book.  But a Google Book search turns up only 8 instances of it in total (and two of those come after the spoiler line).  So, perhaps it has just stuck with me.

I sort of wish I had more to say about this, but it struck me as a fun narrative device–and Pynchon certainly has a lot of them in this book.

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  1. April 3, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    I dig it too.

  2. April 5, 2012 at 2:09 am

    Me, three.

    My first thought was of the original Scooby Doo cartoons, and a quick search says that Hanna-Barbera’s 1969 debut is contemporaneous with Pynchon’s writing. Coincidence, perhaps, but there is something sweet and goofy that echoes with 1970s popular culture.

    • April 5, 2012 at 9:35 am

      Totally agree, Christine. I feel like theres a lot of 70s pop culture stuff going on (even though it is set in the 40s). The “sweetness” is a fascinating juxtaposition for so much very very unsweet behavior.

      • April 5, 2012 at 5:30 pm

        And it feels like part of that dreadful wartime pull of “live so it doesn’t feel like death.” Those bits of humanity that fight through all the bullshit like those few green plants poking through on a sandy beach.

  3. Dennis Fleming
    April 5, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    I think that the sweetness and goofiness is indicative of his innocence. And part of growing up is the recognition of evil. Right now his paranoia feels a bit like a lark, speculating on the connections of Marvy while simultaneously dispatching him with custard pies (Was Pynchon watching so many silent films that he had to include a pie fight?) But we saw real evil in Pointsman who was wiling to damage or destroy, in the most clinical terms, another human being, the embodiment of the banality of evil. It’s like watching a vivisection of a cartoon mouse.

  4. April 6, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    “It’s like watching a vivisection of a cartoon mouse” and finding out that the cartoon is a costume, beneath which there is viscera and gore and intense pain.

    Thanks for the great simile to help me label my intense discomfort at watching Slothrop’s goofy innocence peeled forcibly away from his skeletal system.

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