Essay on A Comparison of Crying of Lot 49 and White Noise

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A Comparison of Crying of Lot 49 and White Noise

Pynchon's novel The Crying of Lot 49 has much in common with Don DeLillo's book White Noise. Both novels uncannily share certain types of characters, parts of plot structure and themes. The similarities of these two works clearly indicates a cultural conception shared by two influential and respected contemporary authors.

Character similarities in the two novels are found in both the main characters and in some that are tangential to the plots. The two protagonists of the works, Oedipa Maas of Lot 49 and Jack Gladney of White Noise, are characters struggling to make sense of their worlds, and yet, both are afraid to face pure, filtered truth. Oedipa is
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to find meaning to make their lives their own.

The Gladney's first attempts/voyages are escapist in nature. In White Noise Jack, when discussing the life of Attila the Hun, presents his view of mankind's life and death.

"[Attila had] No weakening of the spirit. No

sense of the irony of human existence, that we are

the highest form of life on earth and yet ineffably

sad because we know what no other animal knows,

that we must die" (p.20).

It is this looming sense of death that entraps Jack, Babette and even their kids. The family's most basic form of death avoidance manifests itself in their obsession with things and their physical presences. Jack maintains himself as a rather large man and he is reassured by Babette's physical bulk: "I suggested there was an honesty inherent in bulkiness if it is just the right amount. People trust a certain amount of bulk in others" (p.7). This idea is furthered when Jack comments on the tendency of people to overeat when they are upset. His description (p.14) suggests that in eating and making themselves fat people are attempting to extend themselves, to make their physical presence more substantial and therefore real and lasting.

In his book In the Loop Tom LeClair presents a similar

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