Document Type : Research article


Assistant Professor of English Literature, Persian Gulf University


Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49 (1965) is an artistically convoluted narrative in which parallel, alternative worlds interpenetrate consistently and continuously, providing a fine instance of what, in Chaos Theory, is called an open system. The discovery of the chaotic connections in this narrative is in harmony with effecting a sense of indeterminacy, plurality and uncertainty which prevails all through the story and keeps flustering Pynchon’s protagonist, Oedipa Maas. Oedipa, engulfed by the chaotic flux of information which most tenaciously and purposefully resists any linear, causative ordering, struggles to fabricate, against all odds, an orderly nexus among the bizarre set of incidents that she encounters through resorting to paranoia. Paranoia, in Oedipa’s case, becomes therapeutic and constructive since fantasizing a conspiracy would warrant an escape from insanity which is an intrinsic attribute of chaos. The two consequential determinants in this narrative, therefore, are chaos and paranoia the convoluted interactions of which create an intriguing, chaotic, postmodern tale. Unlike the dominant trend of considering paranoia merely as a prevalent thematic concern in Pynchon, this study seeks to provide a new reading of the mentioned narrative in the light of the dynamic interplay of chaos and paranoia and its function in portraying Oedipa as the one who projects, author-like, a world of her own which, though still governed by the regulations and principles of chaotic, open systems, guarantees sanity, existence and authority. 


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