The trouble is with understanding the symbolism, thematic elements, intertwining plots and characters relations, and rambling surrealist prose-poems. And even that stuff is supposed to be hard to follow. It's all just as hard to understand to the characters.
The science/math stuff is mostly high-school level, and used only in context of scientists to illustrate their work and draw thematic content out of calculations.
Really, ignore everything else you've heard about GR on /lit/. It's not that hard.
>>7662759 No, this is a stupid meme. People on 4chan love charts for some reason. Read Gravity's Rainbow first, it doesn't fucking matter.
That's how I started with Pynchon. Hadn't even heard of his other books, and it wasn't a problem at all. In fact I'm glad my first Pynchon experience was with GR because it turned out to be my favorite of his anyway.
If you think you absolutely MUST ease yourself into his style though - yes, Lot 49 is probably the best choice.
I wasn't a math major, then again I'm not terrible at math, but somehow I feel like if I was I still didn't struggle with the math in this book. It makes allusions to Wealth of Nations, mathematical theory, mathematicians and engineers but it never eluded me. I found my easiest run-through was with note-taking on general themes and especially, especially summarizing characters in the margins (the characters were by far the most difficult part, but became easy when I would begin to write about them at first mention).
For me, doing this only took intensive attention to detail for the first half, and then it really stuck and read like a very readable, easy novel.. People who get muddled in the first half find the last part unbearably opaque.
Also, the mathematical/ engineering diction that should go over your head is often explained in the text itself, not even contextually but overtly, if you pay attention.
Also, this was the first book aside from older works like Paradise Lost and Leviathan that I simply couldn't pair with other works. In other words: read this and only this while you're reading it. At least, that worked for me.
I think his reputation for distancing readers is confused by the depth of his imagination. I hope that helps. Good luck.
Unrelated to OP's question, I've been meaning to ask — does anyone have an explanation or interpretation for the Outer Level / Outer Radiance / Epidermal passage? Page 148. That part seemed like it would be very important when I read it, but unless I missed it it's never explained or mentioned again.
>>7662759 There are some references to V. and The Crying of Lot 49 in it, but it doesn't matter much if you've read them before or not. It's a good bet you won't understand everything in Gravity's Rainbow anyway. I wonder if anyone really does.
>>7663852 I always assumed it was the two skin cells talking about how they're all at some point pushed upwards to the edge of the skin and flake off, possibly made to mirror a person being told of/coming to terms with their mortality, and to express the universality of the cyclical structure of life, that even cells experience it just as people do, and that it (the cycle) permeates us and, ultimately, is what constitutes us. But that was just my interpretation
>finish book >get this crazy idea the whole thing is about Blicero's spiritual transformation through war >go back to first epigraph >literally a quote from a nazi scientist about the spirit going on after death
>>7662655 What's the alternative though? Not that its a dichotomy but the only people who might say Pynchon is a hard sci fi writer are those who know nothing about science anyway. But the fact of the matter is that Pynchon knew he wasn't writing sci fi. His inclusion of math, physics etc wasn't a justification or display of knowledge as plot device. Most of his allusions to science are either metaphorical or for comedic effect. If you don't get them you're not missing out on anything huge but it is one of the more fulfilling points of reading his book.
To me the alternative is a book like The Martian, where the author is making a weak attempt at writing hard scifi where science is only brought into the equation in efforts to move the plot forward. Pynchon is the exact opposite and does so completely without pretension.That's what makes it the better book.
>>7668585 Math may be universal but the joke made out of the English words "log" (sounding similar to logarithm and being a type of house) and "+ c" (c being the first letter of the word constant whose pronounciation happens to sound the same as the English word sea) is not universal... you g-goof.
>>7668643 >defending calculus >not posting based Leibnitz >with his superior method of notation >in addition to his bonus Candide angle for the /lit/ folk Excellent premise, but non-infinitessimal points deducted on execution
>>7664130 >>7663852 Yes, I think it's just two of these cells talking about how they all have to move upward through the layers and turn to unliving (calcified like animal horn, nail) tissue with no memory of the stem cell they originated from in eutero/as a placenta. They won't have the old memory that Pynchon was talking about at this part of the book.
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