In the second half of The Crying of Lot 49, Oedipa goes through a phase of questioning her own sanity. Yet within her questioning herself she begins to question the functionality of understanding social cues and how this leads to overall communication.
One of the main themes within Pynchon’s, The Crying of Lot 49 is show how there’s too much emphasis on finding meaning between the lines of a text. Too many students are taught to take what is concretely found within a text and analysis it on a level that goes beyond what is said to what everything may mean. This tactic has become so overrate that individuals are starting to overlook what they see in hopes of finding something deeper. Sometimes there is nothing deeper.
In a developing society communication, especially mass communication, is extremely important. It is important because mass communication can sway the masses into compliance or destruction. For example, Mucho Maas fell into destruction once he started taking the LSD pills from Dr. Hilarious. A doctor who worked for the Nazis. An organization that was able to implement a lot of destructive practices because of their ability to convey their wants to others in a manner that seemed innocent. Although Pynchon is ridiculing the tactic mentioned above, he is also displaying the importance of theory of mind. Theory of Mind in essence, is the ability to understand (on some social level) the actions, words, facial expressions, etc. of the person you are engaging. With that said, a question comes to mind: How can one have theory of mind during mass communication like television, the radio, or even literature?
Oedipa, a mock epic hero, losses this ability to understand the Theory of Mind in her engagement with Metzger after spending so much time trying to find a deeper meaning with the Tristero.
“No word to recall that Oedipa and Metzger had ever been more than co-executors. Which must mean, thought Oedipa, that that’s all we were.” (121). This quote makes me think about how symbolism and titles/descriptions affect understanding and involvement.