The Struggle for Control or Survival: A Study on the Theme of Gravity's Rainbow


  • Junge Dou University of Science and Technology, Beijing


Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, with sprawling, encyclopedic narrative and penetrating analysis of the impact of technology on society, is a postmodern epic. In portraying an entropic world, Pynchon reintroduces his perennial themes of Preterite and Elect, Conspiracy and Counterforce, Apocalypse and Alienation, making it an intellectual tour de force. The book picturesquely presents the resistance against the technology fetishism totalitarian societies, controlled by the elite/Elect, of the jilted imperial subaltern/Preterite who are in pursuit of self and history. The pervasive sexual intercourse descriptions and the linguistic extremes of equitation and obscenity, which voice the desires of Elect and Preterite respectively in their struggle for control or survival in the totalitarian societies. The paradoxical dichotomy of despair and hope, survival and death are closely interdependent in the novel, which is the portrayal of the plight of human beings. The stories happen around the rocket show the absurdity of human life in the modern high-tech society and people's resistance and expectation to the absurdity of life and reflects Pynchon's implied meaning and deep humanistic concern for the status quo of human society. Gravity, rocket, and rainbow as a whole signifies both an elegy and longing on humanness out of the ruins and waste land after the war.


Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow, Struggle


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How to Cite

J. Dou, “The Struggle for Control or Survival: A Study on the Theme of Gravity’s Rainbow”, Extsv. Rev., vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 69–74, Oct. 2022.