So, Gravity's Rainbow
nearly did me in. I read to the (spectacular) end, but without the understanding or enjoyment I'd experienced with Mason & Dixon
. His voice/characters/preoccupations seemed so juvenile, so chauvinistic, so cynical
that I only occasionally felt on his wavelength. When I did, it was great, I admit, but it just didn't happen often enough. The Pynchon of M&D
, by contrast, feels mature and wistful (around and under the silly jokes), as if he's here to share, not flaunt his wit, as if he's excited about things I get excited about, too, like beauty and mankind's potential. I realize I'm admitting to failure with GR
, so I'll stop now, before I embarrass myself any further.
But, I do have a question for you all – a movie-related question – about this passage (bolding mine):
John Dillinger, at the end, found a few seconds' strange mercy in the movie images that hadn't quite yet faded from his eyeballs—Clark Gable going off unregenerate to fry in the chair, voices gentle out of the deathrow steel so long, Blackie . . . turning down a reprieve from his longtime friend now Governor of New York William Powell, skinny chinless condescending jerk, Gable just wanting to get it over with, "Die like ya live—all of a sudden, don't drag it out—" […] there was still for the doomed man some shift of personality in effect—the way you've felt for a little while afterward in the real muscles of your face and voice, that you were Gable, the ironic eyebrows, the proud, shining, snakelike head—to help Dillinger through the bushwhacking, and a little easier into death.
This phenomenon is something I've only mentioned once or twice, to people who reacted as if I were losing my mind, so I know it's not universal. Do you
, my fellow cinephiles, ever feel this lingering identification, this false muscle memory, after a movie? Not often, but, on occasion, I've been under the impression, as I laugh or speak, that I'm using my face differently, that I look like
the heroine (because, for me, it's always the female lead). I don't know what to call it: acute identification? a mental echo? It's only ever for a few short seconds, like remnants of a dream, then it's gone. And, before you say I'm crazy, Thomas Pynchon knows what I'm talking about! He must have felt it, too.