72 pages 2 hours read

Thomas Pynchon

Gravity's Rainbow

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1973

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Part 4

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 4 Summary: “The Counterforce”

In August 1945, when Pirate Prentice flies “a more or less hijacked P-47” (466) over the mountains, Slothrop hears it pass overhead. The plane’s arrival indicates that the so-called counterforce is beginning to act. Osbie Feel is in Marseilles, and Katje is on her way to Nordhausen. In Berlin, Säure continues to argue with the composer Gustav about music. In the mountains, Slothrop looks in a stream and finds a harmonica, which “happens to be the same one he lost in 1938 or -9 down the toilet at the Roseland Ballroom, but that’s too long ago for him to remember” (468). Slothrop still hopes that once he acquires his discharge papers, he will be able to return home but then he loses all faith in the concept of papers or bureaucracy. He is tired of his journey and his self-reflection, to the point where his self feels like a burden that he must carry. Nevertheless, the moment when he lost interest in knowing his true self, he seemed to notice his self everywhere. He sees graffiti written on walls that claims “ROCKETMAN WAS HERE” (469), so he responds with graffiti of his own, drawing a rocket beneath the words. He remembers working as part of a road crew in Massachusetts, picking litter at the side of the road.

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