, Research Paper
OedipaOedipa is in search of something that she doesn t want to find, and that is the truth about this WASTE system. She stumbles onto all these connections leading her to almost devote her life in the search for these answers. She finally has a revelation about what she has been doing, is she in search of the truth or in search for her sanity. When she does confront Dr. Hilarious about her concern over whether she is crazy or not, she realizes she would rather be crazy then to believe what she has seen with her own eyes. It was simply easier for her to believe that she has the problem rather than the country being infested with the problems she has discovered. “She wanted it all to be fantasy-some clear result of her several wounds…She wanted Hilarius to tell her she was some kind of nut and needed rest…She also wanted to know why the chance of its being true menaced her so.(132)”As she hoped that all of what was transpiring was just a devilish nightmare and that it will be over soon she realized why, why she hoped so much for everything to be untrue, that is, because of her belief in her country. If there was a secret system for underground communication, and the US government didn t know about it, it could lead to the downfall of this country, and Oedipa was terrified of even the notion. The WASTE system is the secretive mail system used by thousands instead of the US postal service. The acronym WASTE might have many meanings, one being that the United States is much too wasteful and that our gluttony is destroying this country. That is why many people may be using this system, to spite the Postal Service and to make a point of them, showing how they are able to make a difference, even though they don t allow anyone to witness their struggle.
Oedipa was the first person to infiltrate the secret world of the Tristero s hidden army of communication. She had heard stories and read books connecting some many people and places and events that it was almost impossible for it to be untrue. She had spoken to people who were terrified of the system, people who s families were some of the first subscribers to this WASTE system, and even some who lived and died by the WASTE system, even today. Listening to many of these stories, making the connections, she slowly became sensitized to realizing the unexpected. As the old man on page 91 told of “The stories that old man would tell. He rode for the Pony Express. That old man, was an Indian killer,” Oedipa understood the connection between the Bronze sign and the play she had seen, with the killers pretending to be Indians, with the black feather in their hair. There are many places where Pynchon simply goes out of his way to be unusual or to confuse the reader. One such area is on the same page listed above, notice, that the man telling the story is complaining about being old as he speaks of his grandfather, “A very old man, at least as old as I am now, 91. I thought when I was a boy that he had been 91 all his life. Now I feel as if I have been 91 all my life.(91)” Notice the page number, 91. Pynchon loves these quirky little messages or stories within his story, they are littered throughout the novel. It makes for more difficult reading, but reading you are allowed to go into open minded, for Pynchon not only allows you to decide on what happened or if Qedipa, or maybe even you are crazy, but he wants you to discover that you are.