I have noticed that in one of our latest readings, specifically chapter 2 of The Crying of Lot 49, there appears to be some form of critique on existentialism. When Oedipa and Metzer are watching the movie in the motel room, she comments that “All those movies had happy endings.” (Page 22) A typical existentialist writer would probably have the end of the movie result in all of the characters dying in some brutal unheroic fashion in order to show that the universe is not concerned with what ought to be. In fact it is not concerned with anything at all. There are no reasons other than causal ones for why the universe acts a certain way. Existentialist philosopher Albert Camus is famous for his quote “ah the silence” said after witnessesing a young woman who’s son was just killed by a car repeatedly crying out “why?” The horrible deaths of Baby Igor and the Dog in the submarine seem to point to an existentialist theme of the universe not conforming to our standards of how it ought to act. It almost seems as if this is a classic existentialist scene until the father is allowed to give a heroic speech before dying. This does conform with our romanticized notions of how a heroic father ought to be able to act after seeing his dog and child die. My best explanation for this is that Pynchon is trying to show that even the purported universal truth of existentialism, that the universe does not operate based on how we think it ought to and in fact operates in certain ways for no reason, can be deconstructed.
Italo Calvino said:… on Reader Response to Calvino… cschell14 on Who is in the Box? cschell14 on Wrapping it all up sambythesea on Lucille’s Resentment sambythesea on Who is in the Box?