Difference between revisions of "Chapter 1"

m (clarification on "tin can")
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<div id="tin can"> 9/1 - '''his old tin can's'''</div>
<div id="tin can"> 9/1 - '''his old tin can's'''</div>
His particular naval ship.
His particular naval ship.  The informal usage of "tin can" refers to a naval destroyer, notorious for relatively light armor.
<div id="Sterno can"> 9/1 - '''Sterno can'''</div>
<div id="Sterno can"> 9/1 - '''Sterno can'''</div>

Revision as of 09:11, 27 August 2007

Please keep these annotations SPOILER-FREE by not revealing information from later pages in the novel.
492-page edition / 547-page edition
9/1 - Benny Profane

One meaning of bennie is: Shortened form of benefit. All services provided to or for soldiers, sailors, airmen or Marines are considered bennies.--Answers.com.
Another meaning is: short for Benzadrine, a trademarked amphetamine often prescribed for anxiety, also spelled bennie. First discovered serendipitously in 1954. Bennie

Profane: Since 1912, as defined in The Elementary Forms of Religious Life by the sociologist Emile Durkheim, profane has had the social meaning of 'everything that is not sacred'.
"The division of the world into two domains, one containing all that is sacred and the other all that is profane—such is the distinctive trait of religious thought."--Durkheim (p. 34) Science Encyclopedia: History of Ideas, Vol. 5

9/1 - Christmas Eve 1955

The first time that the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) received a call concerning Santa's whereabouts: The tradition began after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. store advertisement for children to call Santa on a special "hotline" included an inadvertently misprinted telephone number. Instead of Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief's operations "hotline." The Director of Operations, Colonel Harry Shoup, received the first "Santa" call on Christmas Eve 1955. Tracking Santa

9/1 - Norfolk, Virginia

Port city.wikipedia The city has a long history as a strategic military and transportation point. Norfolk is home to both the Norfolk Naval Base, the world's largest naval base and was in 1955. Urban renewal, starting in the 1970s also included the demolition of many prominent city buildings, and large swaths of urban fabric that, were they still in existence today, might be the source of additional historic urban character, a-and including the East Main Street district (where the current civic complex is located), and where Benny starts yo-yoing.

9/1 - his old tin can's

His particular naval ship. The informal usage of "tin can" refers to a naval destroyer, notorious for relatively light armor.

9/1 - Sterno can

Sterno Canned Heat is a fuel made from denatured and jellied alcohol. It is designed to be burned directly from its can.wikipedia

9/1 - 54 Packard Patrician

The Packard Patrician was an automobile built by the Studebaker-Packard Corporation of Detroit, Michigan, from model years 1951 through the 1956 model. There was even an eight-passenger model.1958 was the last year of Packard production. The Packard had a high reputation for quality, for value that would last and Packards are highly-prized by collectors today.

10/2 - seaman deuce

A seaman apprentice. See "Deuce Kindred," a character in Pynchon's Against the Day, his 2006 novel.

10/2 - like a yo-yo...maybe a year and a half

"One year of those times [Fifties] was much like another...there was a lot of aimlessness going around". Introduction to Slow Learner, p.14, by Thomas Pynchon.

10/2 - Drunken Sailors...Do With

Here, actually beginning on the first page, appears Pynchon's lifelong stylistic use of capitalization--for a certain kind of emphasis?, for a kind of reification?, and for much, much more certainly. See Pynchon's 1997 novel, Mason & Dixon for the most extensive use of capitalization.

10/2 - one potential berserk...the glass breaks?),

Cf. Zoyd Wheeler's annual "act of televised insanity" in Pynchon's 1990 novel, Vineland

10/2 - SP

Shore Patrol, the naval 'police'.

10/2 - Hey Rube

Carnies'--circus folk--call to come together when in a dispute with townspeople.
Misc: reviewer, writer, Michael Moorcock, who published an early Pynchon story when he was a young magazine editor, has pointed to circuses as motifs in Pynchon, calling Against the Day, a massive 'circus' novel.

10/2 - V

This is the first appearance of the letter that is the title. It describes ugly green mercury-vapor lamps. Not positive associations--to say the least-- in Pynchon's world. See Against the Day, passim, especially in the Telluride sections. The V of the lamps recedes to the east, usually a positive association in Pynchon, especially in intellectual connotations.

10/2 - doggo

Pronunciation: 'do-(")gO
Function: adverb
Etymology: probably from dog
in hiding -- used chiefly in the phrase to lie doggo. Merriam Webster Dictionary.

11/3 - Beatrice

Probable allusion — see 'all barmaids' coming up — to Beatrice, [Beatrice Poltinari] guide through 'Paradise' of Dante's The Divine Comedy, whom Dante loves.

11/3 - DesDiv 22

Destroyer Division 22. Possible allusion to Catch 22 ?, another now-classic comic, famously anti-war, novel, published in 1961, but sections were published even earlier in magazines.

11/3 - single up all lines

"Single up all lines" is a common nautical term. Ships are docked with lines doubled -- that is, with two sets of ropes or chains holding the vessel to the dock. To "single up all lines" is to remove the redundant second lines in preparation to make way. See Against the Day for at least three uses and some thematic meanings.

11/3 - N.O.B.

Naval Operations Base.

11/3 - Ploy

Merriam Webster entry: ploy
Pronunciation: 'ploi'..Function: noun
Etymology: probably from employ..Date: 1722
2 a : a tactic intended to embarrass or frustrate an opponent b : a devised or contrived move : STRATAGEM (a ploy to get her to open the door -- Robert B. Parker)

Ploy rendered toothless by the Navy, their ploy, so to speak?

11/3 - Pentothal injection

Known as truth serum.wikipedia Pynchon wit in fine evidence when Ploy sees apocalypse when injected and shouts obscenities! Buried cameo of the future writer of an apocalyptic novel, said by some---The Pulitzer Prize Board---to be obscene?- Gravity's Rainbow
What a ploy! [User: MKohut]

12/4 Negro
Negro is a racial term applied to people of Sub Saharan African origin; The word is now largely seen as archaic, usually neutral and, depending on the user, occasionally offensive. However, prior to the shift in the "lexicon" of American and worldwide classification of race and ethnicity in the late 1960s, the appellation was accepted as a normal formal term both by those of African descent as well as non-blacks. Negro means black in Spanish and Portuguese, and the Italian nero is similar (Latin: niger = "black").Wikipedia
V. is early sixties, before the word shift in the late sixties.

12/4 Dahoud
Name of an inquisitive youth who tended to the camels in El-Jaziri.

12/4 "life is the most precious possession you have?"..."without it, you'd be dead."
The 'meaning' of life reduced to this? Somehow seems akin to Profane's yo-yoing, or later randomness. Satire of existentialism?

12/4 Lights Out
lights out at 2200 (10:00 PM)---Navy Boot Camp.

12/4 snipes A snipe is naval slang for a member of the engineering crew on a ship. Historically, there was always tension between snipes and the deck crew. http://oldsnipe.com/SnipeBegin.html

12/4 - DesLant

Destroyer Force, North Atlantic Fleet.

13/5 Mrs. Buffo...also named Beatrice
A basso buffo, a comic bass, a staple of nearly every classic Italian comic opera.

13/5 dragon-embroidered kimono
The Kimono (着物, Kimono? literally "something worn", i.e., "clothes") is the national costume of Japan. Originally kimono indicated all types of clothing, but it has come to mean specifically the full-length traditional garment worn by women, men, and children. Kimonos are T-shaped, straight-lined robes that fall to the ankle, with collars and full-length sleeves. The sleeves are commonly very wide at the wrist, as much as a half meter. Traditionally, on special occasions unmarried women wear kimonos (furisode) with extremely long sleeves that extend almost to the floor. Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimonos
Kimonos were originally worn only by the nobility.

Given Pynchon's obs of aspects of America, this user wonders if there was a fad of wearing kimonos in the 50's and 60's, because my mother wore one regularly, with no Japanese connections nor reasons.````[MKohut]````

Toward a more complete answer:
During the Showa period 1926-1989, the japanese government curtailed silk production by taxing it to support the military buildup. Kimono designs became less complex and material was conserved. After World War II, as Japan's economy gradually recovered, kimono became even more affordable and were produced in greater quantities. Europe and America fashion ideas affected the kimono designs and motifs. japanesekimono http://www.japanesekimono.com/kimono_history.htm

Souvenir kimonos collected in great numbers by returning GIs (after WW 2) rekindled interest [in kimonos]. This postwar interest in Japan combined with a rekindled interest in the craft aesthetic created a new wave of kimono influence in America during the late 1960s and 1970s. page 18, Kimono Inspiration: Art and Art-to-Wear in America Pomegranate Books, Textile Museum, Washington, D.C. 1996, the book of an exhibit in 1997.

13/5 Seventh Fleet
The United States 7th Fleet is a naval military formation based in Yokosuka, Japan, with units positioned near South Korea and Japan.

13/5 Dewey Gland
Spelled "Dewy", it means moist, wet--from dew. "Dewy-eyed" means innocent, naive.-M-W Dictionary. The dewy glands of mountian elk are sought for medicinal purposes. Dros"e*ra (?), n. [NL., fr. Gr. dewy.] Bot. A genus of low perennial or biennial plants, the leaves of which are beset with gland-tipped bristles.http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?
Musicians, often guitar and ukelele players, are positive characters in Pynchon's oeuvre. Since music is a great joy in Pynchon's world, musicians seem often to be his archetypal artist figures. See, as context, the myth of Orpheus,"the music of [whose] lyre was so beautiful that when he played, wild beasts were soothed, trees danced, and rivers stood still." http://education.yahoo.com/reference/encyclopedia/entry/Orpheus

14/6 goat hole
The goat is the naval mascot.
Goat Locker - Chiefs' Quarters and Mess. The term originated during the era of wooden ships, when Chiefs were given charge of the milk goats on board. Nowadays more a term of respect for the age of its denizens.

14/6 wardroom
wardroom n : military quarters for dining and recreation for officers of a warship. http://www.dict.die.net/wardroom

14/6 X.O.
Executive Officer.

14/6 Pappy Hod
pap·py1 (păp'ē) adj., -pi·er, -pi·est.--- Of or resembling pap; mushy.
pap·py2 (păp'ē) n. Informal., pl. -pies.--- Father
hod n. A trough carried over the shoulder for transporting loads, as of bricks or mortar. A coal scuttle. http://www.answers.com/topic/hod

14/6 boatswain
n : a petty officer on a merchant ship who controls the work of other seamen ... http://dict.die.net/boatswain/

14/6 riggish
wanton: said of Cleopatra whom the holy priests praise when she is riggish' (i.e. wanton) ... Anthony & Cleopatra, Shakespeare.

14/6 Pig Bodine
Pig- Etymology: Middle English pigge; 1 a : a young domesticated swine not yet sexually mature; broadly : a wild or domestic swine. 3 : a dirty, gluttonous, or repulsive person.--Merriam-Webster Dictionary
American Heritage Dictionary:
2. Informal: A person regarded as being piglike, greedy, or gross. 3a. A crude block of metal, chiefly iron or lead, poured from a smelting furnace. b. A mold in which such metal is cast. c. Pig iron. 5. Slang: A member of the social or political establishment, especially one holding sexist or racist views.

Bodine: In 1905, two years after the Wright brothers powered flight, the Bodine brothers produced their first electric motor for a dental drill manufacturer.http://www.bodine-electric.com/Asp/AboutUs.asp

15/8 jarhead(s)
Marine Corps slang for a Marine, perhaps for the shape of the hat/helmet they wore. The term was well-established by the fifties. Answers.com.

17/10 broad
slang term for a woman; "a broad is a woman who can throw a mean punch"

17/10 "Where we going," Profane said. "The way we're heading," said Pig.
Notice the tie-in with yo-yoing, immediacy and goallessness. Also notice that Profane's question is presented as a statement and Pig's answer is all part of the same paragraph. (Unlike almost all dialogue in novels.)

17/10 WAVE lieutenants
WAVES, or "Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service". In the decades since the last of the Yeomen left active duty, only a relatively small corps of Navy Nurses represented their gender in the Naval service, and they had never had formal officer status. Now, the Navy was preparing to accept not just a large number of enlisted women, as it had done during World War I, but female Commissioned Officers to supervise them. It was a development of lasting significance, notwithstanding the WAVES' name, which indicated that they would only be around during the wartime "Emergency". Department of the Navy historical bulletin.

17/10 Morris Teflon
Teflon, patented in 1941 and trademarked in 1944 by the Dupont company == Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), a synthetic fluoropolymer which finds numerous applications. PTFE has an extremely low coefficient of friction and is used as a non-stick coating for pans and other cookware. It is very non-reactive, and so is often used in containers and pipework for reactive and corrosive chemicals. Where used as a lubricant, PTFE significantly reduces friction, wear and energy consumption of machinery. Wikipedia.

17/10 switchman
switchman - a man who operates railroad switches. American Heritage Dictionary. Pynchon does not like railroads. See Against the Day.

18/11 clamped down

clamp... Phrasal Verb: clamp down
To become more strict or repressive; impose controls: clamping down on environment polluters.

18/11 chipped
v. trans. chip (chp)
2. a. To break a small piece from: chip a tooth. b. To break or cut off (a small piece): chip ice from the window. American Heritage Dictionary.

18/11 wire-brushed
naval slang for a merciless chewing out: "In Flight of the Intruder, Jake Grafton as a JO gets wire-brushed by his CO for attacking an unfragged target. His boss tells him: “What you did was wrong –dead wrong…America will always need the Navy. And the Navy must obey.” "

8/11 para on French leave

8/11 Piraeus
Piraeus (Modern Greek: Πειραιάς Pireás, Ancient Greek / Katharevousa: Πειραιεύς Peiraieus) is a city in the periphery of Attica, Greece, located to the south of the city of Athens. It is the capital of the Piraeus Prefecture and belongs to the Athens urban area. It was the port of the ancient city of Athens and it was chosen to serve as the modern port when Athens was re-founded in 1834. Piraeus is the largest port in Europe (and third largest in the world) in terms of passenger transportation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piraeus

9/12 F.L.N.
The National Liberation Front (Arabic: جبهة التحرير الوطني; transliterated: Jabhat al-Taḩrīr al-Waţanī, French: Front de Libération nationale, hence FLN) is a socialist political party in Algeria. It was set up on November 1, 1954 as a merger of other smaller groups, to obtain independence for Algeria from France. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Liberation_Front(Algeria)

9/12 WAVY
WAVY is the NBC affiliate serving the Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, Virginia market.

9/12 "No", she said. "Meaning Yes"
Foreshadowing of the chapter 'In which Esther Gets a Nose Job'.

20/13 - inanimate

52 uses of the word inanimate in V.; 13 of animate. Thematic: Life vs. Non-Life/Death. Notice bar, the Sailor's Grave and ship, the U.S.S. Scaffold vs. the Impulsive (a mine sweeper)--LOL.

Also, see page 21/14 in this connection: where nothing else lived but himself

22/15 - Schlozhauer's Trocadero

The word trocadero, which in Spanish means "place of barter" (from trocar: "to barter"), goes back to a fortified site near Cadiz, Spain, that was the stronghold of the Constititutionalists in the revolution of 1820 and that fell to the French in 1823. During the International Exhibition of 1878 an ornate palace was built to commemorate the French victory. "Trocadero" became a popular name for public places in Europe, one being the Trocadero Palace of Varieties in London, known as "The Troc," which opened as a music hall in 1882 on the corner of Shaftsbury Avenue and Windmill Street.

27/21 - a pimpled bravo

A "bravo" is a villain, desperado; esp. a hired assassin

37/32 - horniness
a state of sexual excitement. OED
Pynchon is the first citation in the OED for use of this word in print in V..

43/39 -Zeitsuss

'Zeit' [German] = Time.
'Suss': Pronunciation: 's&s
Function: transitive verb
Etymology: by shortening & alteration from suspect
1 chiefly British : FIGURE OUT -- usually used with out
2 chiefly British : to inspect or investigate so as to gain more knowledge -- usually used with out. Merriam-Webster

Australian variant, 'suss' alone without 'suss out':1. suspicious; distrustful; eg, "I'm a bit suss about him and his actions". 2. deceitful; underhanded; clandestine. No OED to check if variant dates to 1960s.

Chapter 1
In which Benny Profane, a schlemihl and human yo-yo, gets to an apocheir
Chapter 2
The Whole Sick Crew
Chapter 3
In which Stencil, a quick-change artist, does eight impersonations
Chapter 4
In which Esther gets a nose job
Chapter 5
In which Stencil nearly goes West with an alligator
Chapter 6
In which Profane returns to street level
Chapter 7
She hangs on the western wall
Chapter 8
In which Rachel gets her yo-yo back, Roony sings a song, and Stencil calls on Bloody Chiclitz
Chapter 9
Mondaugen's story
Chapter 10
In which various sets of young people get together
Chapter 11
Confessions of Fausto Maijstral
Chapter 12
In which things are not so amusing
Chapter 13
In which the yo-yo string is revealed as a state of mind
Chapter 14
V. in love
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Epilogue, 1919
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