Vineland 91-140

August 18, 2010 § Leave a comment

p. 92 Ralph Wayvone’s momentary escape:

[He] could take another of what he’d come to think of as microvacations on an island of time fragile and precious as any Tahiti or one of them.

This is perhaps the only kind of escape that is accessible and unproblematic. Grace, but only for an instant. Later, in Mason & Dixon, Pynchon will explore the way in which many different temporal experiences can be embedded in a single perceptual/narrative moment.

p.97 A little joke for postmodern theroists. The band consult The Italian Wedding Fake Book by Deleuze and Guattari. Who also authored Capitalism and Schizophrenia, which consists of A Thousand Plateaus and Anti-Oedipus.

p.117 Whilst Wayvone’s escape is a solitary moment of peace, for Frenesi ‘the best chances of light’ are to be found in action. The final sentence, however, may possibly undermine the sacrifices described.

Frenesi dreamed of a mysterious people’s oneness, drawing together toward the best chances of light, achieved once or twice that she’d seen in the street, in short, timeless bursts, all paths, human and projectile, true, the people in a single presence, the police likewise simple as a moving blade- and individuals who in meetings might only bore or be pains in the ass here suddenly being seen to transcend, almost beyond will to move smoothly between baton and victime to take the blow instead, to lie down on the tracks as the iron rolled in or look into the gun muzzle and maintain the power of speech- there was no telling, in those days, who might change unexpectedly, or when. Some were in it, in fact, secretly for the possibilities of finding just such moments.

The first thing to say is that all this is only a dream of Frenesi’s, how she would like things to be. Does that mean this cannot exist? Not necessarily, but the fact that the people are ‘a single presence’,  and the police are ‘likewise simple’ almost seems to echo the accusations of childishness levelled by Hector at Zoyd earlier in the novel. And again, there is this notion of an altered temporal sense.

p. 127 DL’s sensei offers advice that addresses a rather different notion of grace and election- one which does not deny our Fallen status, and our own limitations.

This was what he felt he had to pass on- not the brave hard-won grace of any warrior, but the cheaper brutality of an assassin. When DL finally tumbled, she brought it to his attention.

“Sure,” he told her, “this is for all the rest of us down here with the insects, the ones who don’t quite get to make warrior, who with two tenths of a second to decide fail to get it right and live it with the rest of our lives”

When DL protests that ‘everybody’s a hero at least once’ he tells her she is ‘seeing too many movies, maybe’.

p.131 Wayvone tells DL

“We know your history, it’s all on the computer.”

p 133-134 A long passage where DL tells Frenesi about how “Superman could change back into Clark Kent”.

“Don’t underestimate it. Workin’ at the Daily Planet was the Man o’ Steel’s Hawaiian vacation, his Saturday night in town, his marijuana and his opium smoke, and oh what I wouldn’t give…”

What’s interesting is that it is Frenesi, not DL, who tries to live this fantasy, that of giving up on anything remotely heroic. By throwing in her lot with Brock Vond, and then becoming an informer, Frenesi ends up living a perverted version of this, one where all the solid normality is bought at other’s expense. Which makes her objection to DL’s daydreaming (and DL has arguably had to deal with far worse than Frenesi, which in some ways would make any such escape, however it was bought, more understandable) all the more ironic.

Why should anybody want to be only mortal? Better to stay an angel, angel.”

If DL did go on to try and escape, in a literal sense, by moving to Columbus and compiling an ‘invisibility wardrobe’ it was for good reason. If Frenesi thinks of DL as an ‘angel’, it is because she doesn’t grasp what DL has had to do.

p. 139 Ralph says to DL (in flashback)

“All that great gift? You wanted to just escape it?”

She doesn’t even bother to address this when she answers him, so obviously is her situation not a ‘great gift’.

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