The Crying of Lot 49 Themes & Symbolism

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The Oedipus Myth

With a protagonist named Oedipa, this novel clearly presents itself as a modern retelling of the Oedipus myth from Ancient Greece, now set in 1950's California. The story of Oedipus explored the power of fate, wielded by gods, to determine people's lives. Freud used this myth as a metaphoric explanation of identity development among boys. Pynchon's novel explores a female character's search for identity, and substitutes modern social forces for fate; in particular, the power of economic and technological development.

The Oedipus Complex

Virtually all male characters in the novel are impotent in some way. None are capable of loving the female protagonist, Oedipa. According to Freud's theory of the Oedipus complex, development of a viable sexual identity requires that the boy renounce desire for his mother in order to gain phallic potency and the social power that accompanies it in a male-dominated society. Thus...

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This section contains 672 words
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