The Crying of Lot 49 offers two journeys into the text: that of it's protagonist Oedipa, and that which the reader is forced to take with her. His brilliant use of detail and word plays blur the lines between the two. The main factor in this journey is chaos, here referred to by it's more scientific name entropy. Oedipa and the reader get lost in a system of chaos and the task of deciphering the clues within the intricate system.
The reader has no choice but to become part of this system through cleverly employed tactics Pynchon uses to draw one in. The uncertainty and complication of the mystery are the devices typically used to bring a character and or reader to an understanding of oneself, in this case it is questionable whether Oedipa or the reader reach this sort of consciousness. Oedipa through Pynchon's scientific / literary metaphors, has a personal awakening that is not quite resolved with the end of the novel. The reader and the protagonist are both left to question what is real and what is fantasy. Pynchon offers clues to the puzzle, but the truth in question is not the Trystero, but Oedipa's sanity.
Oedipa Mass is forced to involve herself in what seems to be a conspiracy. Her job can be compared to that of Maxwell's Demon. "As the Demon sat and sorted his molecules into hot and cold, the system was said to lose entropy. But somehow the loss was offset by the information the Demon gained about what molecules were where (p. 105).
Perception is blurred in the novel through the use of alcohol and drugs and the blurring of communication systems. In this case a form of entropy linked to the chaos of a communication system is embodied by the W. A. S. T. E.
system Oedipa stumbles upon. She must attempt to separate what is real and what is fantasy, to decipher what is important and what is useless information. Pynchon's use of detail makes this a difficult task, and the reader get's caught up in he world of symbols and imagery. His mixture of fiction with history further confuses the reader with the Thurn and Taxis system and the Peter Pinguid Society one is drawn into a world where he / she is reliant upon Oedipa to decipher the clues. Oedipa and the reader are drawn into a constant fear of paranoia.
As she tackles the question of her sanity, she is continuosly bombarded by the fear of paranoia. Because the details being fed to Oedipa/ reader are closely controlled by the author, one is hurled into a world where fiction and reality are continuosly confused and paranoia surrounds the action taking place and the strange characters she encounetrs. She is led to find meaning in symbols that don't necessarily contain any meaning. Eventually, Oedipa sees the sign of the Trystero everywhere she goes. "In the lapel of which she spied, wrought exquisitely in some pale, glimmering alloy, not another cerise badge, but a pin in the shape of the Trystero post horn. Mute and everything (p.
111). Because we see this fictional world through her eyes, we wonder whether this vast conspiracy is real. Pierce Inverearity is close to the author in that he is the master of the fictional domain. He is the creator of the complicated web that Oedipa has become tangled in and as she questions what his motive were in involving her in the will, the reader also sees the games the author has played to drw a one into the system The most inventive method that Pynchon uses for involving the reader in the novel in The Crying of Lot 49 is the mock-Jacobean drama The Courier's Tragedy. In a way our experience oif the novel parallel's Oedipa's experience of the play. The details of the play are not only closely related to the events of the novel, but the conspiratorial air that surrounds its line and director, Randolph Driblette, consume the reader with the obsession that Oedipa feels for the ghsrtjhuser.
Driblette's words warn Oedipa and the reader of the fact that they " ve been drawn into the thysath. "You guys, you " re like the Puritans about the Bible. So hung up with words (p. 79). The reader's attempts to make sense of the novel are paralleled by Oedipa's search for the original version of the play.
The possibly meaningless play becomes greatly important to her as the reader tries to decipher not just the clues in the novel, but what their significance is in reference to America. The techniques Pynchon uses to draw the reader in masterfully unite the readers saerch for answers with Oedipa's journey of self-discovery.