Entropy and Apocalypse: The Trapped Protagonists in Pynchon's 'Gravity's Rainbow '

Yuna Li


Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow (1973) is essentially a historical novel covering many important periods of human civilization expressing the apocalyptic vision of the novelist who employs the postmodernist literary devices to dramatize the mood of decadence and despair. The plot of the novel is set amidst the ruins of the Second World War encompassing a period between the age of European expansion in the 16th century to the emergence of the Cold War. The novel is the most widely celebrated unread novel of American literature and strikes as a piece of folklore. Pynchon's versatile genius manifests in his manifestation of a wide range of subject matter and the application of postmodern literary techniques of presentation, fragmentation, paranoia, and interpretation. The novel is based on many parallels, oppositions and double structures in the content, characterization, and themes. In Gravity's Rainbow, Pynchon enjoys involving his characters in a cosmos in which no absolute truth and no singular concept can survive in the postmodern American society.


apocalyptic; decadence; despair; paranoia; fragmentation

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