Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)



First Advisor

Calvin Thomas


Thomas Pynchon’s novel, The Crying of Lot 49, details Oedipa Maas’ quest to unearth a possibly centuries-old clandestine mail system, the Trystero. Oedipa is immersed in notions of sociality and she must navigate the social landscape, searching for clues as to the existence of the social system. In her quest she assumes the role of a detective who searches for meaning, as she looks for clues and questions others who might potentially be privy to the secrets of the Trystero. She necessarily performs the process of symbolic exchange with those she encounters in an attempt at ascertaining some greater meaning within the world that she thinks might lie behind the Trystero. In this, the nature of the circulation of meaning is revealed as a cultural construct.