As we reach the final installment of Pynchon’s work, we find it constantly deferred of an ending. The texts’ narrative perspective confines us as readers to the minds of our protagonist, Oedipa. Pynchon purposefully prevents us from attaining any verifiable knowledge of the Tristero underground postal/religious/political group. In this sense, the lack of an objective narration results in a feeling of utter uselessness and doubt. One of my biggest obstacles as a first time reader of this novel was the presence, or lack of, between the existent and nonexistent of the “muted post horn”. My suspicions of Oedipa’s progressive insanity, brings up more concerns about the validity of the Tristero knowledge she comes across. This paranoia runs rampant with no apparent reconciliation,
Behind the hieroglyphic streets there would either be a transcendent meaning, or only the earth…. Another mode of meaning behind the obvious, or none. Either Oedipa in the orbiting of a true paranoia, or a real Tristero. For there either was some Tristero beyond the appearance of the legacy of America, or there was just America and if there was just America then it seemed the only was […]she could continue […] (150)
The book ends anti-climatically, without no definite answer. In this regard, Pynchon’s “hieroglyphic” novel is no more than a representation of life. Like Oedipa, we are just as susceptible to insanity in trying to make sense out of it. However, I think that just because the novel ends open-endedly, does not mean that Pynchon left it with no plausible meaning. I think that just questioning whether there is, or is not meaning to be found, is the message itself. Meaning, existent or nonexistent, exists because we made or thought it.