Discursive Life in Thomas Pynchon's _Mason & Dixon_
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of English Honors Theses; 2006
The following illustrates how Thomas Pynchon’s epistemological and political scrutiny of discourse is thematically manifest in Mason & Dixon, and examines how his opposition to dominant or official histories is strongly related to the postmodern critique of master narratives. On the level of plot and theme, Mason & Dixon undermines the credibility of authoritative historical accounts and promotes communal or local discursive modes like oral histories that develop organically among a people as opposed to being imposed upon them from above. Mason & Dixon undermines the distinctions between ideologically driven stories and ostensibly positivist, or objective modes of understanding the world. Reducing all forms of knowledge to historically and culturally contingent discourses, Pynchon invokes how these discourses endow existence with meaning and shape social reality. The novel thus depicts how dialogic interaction generates socio-ideological evolution and integration.