Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49 satirizes analysis and skepticism through the use of Oedipa’s seemingly hopeless journey to find meaning behind some conspiracy that may not even exist. Throughout the novel, Oedipa’s journey is marked by distantly relatable clues, including certain keywords or symbols. Oedipa believes beyond a shadow of a doubt that each clue is related to the last, and that they all lead to the answer of some greater mystery or conspiracy. However, when the novel ends, we are left without an answer to several questions. Pynchon’s decision to end the novel in this way satirizes both Oedipa’s character for analyzing everything around her so closely, but also it satirizes the reader. Pynchon leaves the novel without answers to say to the reader that not everything always needs or has answers. Sometimes no matter how hard we look at and analyze a set of random details, clues, and facts, they will still be just as random as when we started. Pynchon’s use of The Crying of Lot 49 and Oedipa in this way greatly satirizes the postmodern mentality of skepticism and interpretation within literature, culture, and art.

-Matthew Le