Sunday, October 12, 2014


I've been wondering why Pynchon chose the same 'Callisto' for one of his protagonists.  From what I could remember on my own (and then looked up to confirm) Callisto was a woman who, after being tricked by Zeus, was turned into a bear for getting pregnant, and gave birth to her son (Arcas).  Years later her son was hunting and came upon the bear, not knowing her to be his mother, he almost killed the bear but just before he could Zeus intervened and made them both into the constellations of Ursa Minor and Major.
Applying this to "entropy", where the amount of heat causes the system to lose useful energy, we see the connection.  There is a lead up to something big and then the momentum doesn't stop itself, it just ends, it is cut off.  Aubade suddenly breaks the glass open with her hands, she's allowing the heat from inside to escape and the cold air outside to enter.  We don't know what this will bring the two characters, but the death of the bird and Aubade's sudden action after so much stagnation leads us to believe that it will change the course of things.  We as readers just have no idea what it will be, for the action ends.  Arcas never kills his mother but is forever in the motion of doing so, he is immortalized in the stars as "the little bear".  While he was born human, he will for eternity be the son of a bear, the child of a raped and mistreated woman, and always about to kill her.
Does Arcas seem like a better name for Pynchon's Callisto?  After all, he has the least action in Entropy, and is what cause's Aubade's pain and (seemingly) momentary lack of senses.  She is the catalyst, whereas Callisto just is.  Aubade is the one being taking advantage of, being stuck in this room taking notes with a man so caught up in his own thoughts; like Zeus using Callisto to satisfy himself. Our Callisto seems to have a lack of energy, heat, and action right from the beginning, Aubade never loses hers.  

1 comment:

  1. I think you are right about Aubade--she doesn't lose her energy and she wants to change the world she is trapped in. She finally has the courage to break the window what ever that will entail. But I don't know about her being stuck in the room up until that point. The story never really says that.