Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Chapter 40: Quaternion Pentecost

Back to Kit! A really important chapter where Kit is shot at with the Quaternion weapon. We wonder if this weapon, with its double-refracting capability, will lead to the displacement of Kit in time, or space (a bilocation, or a double kit, a doppleganger).

The chapter is heavy with allusions, to religion and military technology, Trinity being both a significant term in both Christianity and Hinduism, and the name Hindu/Sanskrit/phile Oppenheimer gave to the bomb. Mulciber one of Milton’s demons and a death eater in Harry Potter. The Quaternion Pentecost reminiscent of the speaking which is anticipated at the end of The Crying of Lot 49.

A writer in the AGD Wiki (http://against-the-day.pynchonwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page) notes this significant passage where the Quaternion Umeki speaks to Kit in his dreams, which seems like a bit of an Executive Summary or Abstract for one of the novel’s rhetorical intents:

“Deep among the equations describing the behavior of light, field equations, Vector and Quaternion equations, lies a set of directions, an itinerary, a map to a hidden space. Double refraction appears again and again as a key element, permitting a view into a Creation set just to the side of this one, so close as to overlap, where the membrane between the worlds, in many places, has become too frail, too permeable, for safety.... Within the mirror, with the scalar term, within the daylit and obvious and taken-for-granted has always lain, as if in wait, the dark itinerary, the corrupted pilgrim's guide, the nameless Station before the first, in the lightless uncreated, where salvation does not yet exist”(566).

What a wonderful passage (sic), a dark itinerary to an alternate world!


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