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Names in The Crying of Lot 49 Thomas Pynchons The Crying of Lot 49 is a very deep complex and demanding novel requiring the wide breadth of knowledge One of the most fascinating aspects of the novel is Pynchons choice -- or rather invention -- of the names he gives the characters and organizations described in the novel These names function as metaphors for the people and things they represent thus enabling us to understand the hidden meaning of the novel The protagonist of The Crying of Lot 49 is a woman named Oedipa Maas Oedipas first name obviously derives from Oedipus the hero of Sophocles famous play According to the legend Oedipus parents found out that he was fated to kill his father and marry his mother Therefore they arranged for the childs death However he was rescued and grew to adulthood in another kingdom As an adult Oedipus meets a strange man on the road and kills him never knowing that he is actually his father When he reaches the next kingdom he learns that the king has mysteriously died and Oedipus himself becomes king marrying the former kings wife who of course is his mother When Oedipus finds out what he has done he blinds himself and becomes a wandering beggar Sigmund Freud took the legend of Oedipus as a metaphor for the wish of every small boy to get his father out of the way so he could have his mother all to himself Most men resolve this dilemma by the time they reach adulthood some do not and are therefore unable to cope with the stresses of adult life Men do not want to recognize this tendency in themselves but -- like Oedipus -- once they are aware of this it intrudes itself on their consciousness at every move until they begin to doubt their own sanity This is very much the case with Oedipa as well Once
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