Date of Award

5-2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

English

Advisor

Bushnell, Cameron

Committee Member

LeMahieu , Michael

Committee Member

Morris , Keith

Abstract

Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 and Gabriel Garc’a M‡rquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude posit reading strategies linked by similar methodologies and complementary conclusions. The exposition in the following chapters examines the novels' methodologies on three levels--the utilization of historical background, the Principle of Uncertainty, and apocalyptic endings--to establish a basis for the novels' shared perspective on narrative and, by default, approaches to engaging narrative. This thesis argues that the novels demonstrate that as uncertainty increases within narrative the potential for meaning increases, and the converse--as uncertainty decreases, the potential for meaning decreases. The resultant apocalyptic endings of the novels depict the opposing extremes and the requisite failure of both. Finally, this thesis will demonstrate that through metaphor connecting these failed attempts to reading narrative, both novels show reading to be a dynamic act in which one must negotiate the compass of uncertainty to reach not necessarily meaning, but rather the potential for meaning.

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