Tyrone Slothrop

Page References

shares office with Tantivy Mucker-Maffick at ACHTUNG,18

his map, 18, 22-23

his desk ("layers, over a base of bureaucratic smegma"), 18

looked at rocket-bomb disasters for ACHTUNG, 19

reassigned to PWE, 21

"A lot of stuff prior to 1944 is getting blurry now." 21

"how he got into investigating V-bomb incidents" 24

"a rocket with his name written on it" 25

erections, 26, 120, 225

aka "Schwartzknabe" (per Jamf), 286

aka "Ian Scuffling" (per Waxwing), 256

rockets and hardons, 26

genealogy, 26

discussed, 48-49

toilet adventure of '38-'39, 64-67, 623, 688

and Operation Black Wing, 75, 80

"different people thought they had discovered different things" 85

getting paranoid, 114

in Katje's hotel room, 194-98

clothes stolen, 199-200

"well before he loses his innocence and becomes one of them" 205

connection with Katje, 209

"what has looked free or random, is discovered to've been under some Control" 209

The Penis He Thought Was His Own, 216

discovers German blueprint of A4, 242

Zootsuit Zanies, 251

escape to Nice, 253

goes to Zürich, 257

goes to Geneva, 266

ancestors in Berkshire, 268

gets Jamf Sandoz dossier, 268

arrives at Nordhausen, 281

"the Zone envelopes him" 281

Slothrop Paper Company, 285

"I've been sold to IG Farben like a side of beef" 286

"'Jamf' and 'I' dream" 286, 623

meets Geli Tripping, 290

"the true momentum of his time" 312

"what is this place doing to his brain?"-- 333

in Berlin, 359

aka Rocketman (Raketemensch), 359

meets Greta, 364

"it's an evil game. . .You play because you have nothing better to do, but that doesn't make it right." 364

"jiving on the Riviera, or in Switzerland someplace, only half aware of being extinguished himself...." 374

clue to his existence ("it'll be months" from the Potsdam Conf.), 381

nabbed by Tchitcherine, 383

Blackwords, 391

back in Berlin, 433

hasn't been thinking about S-Gerät-Jamf-Imipolex G for awhile - summer '45, 434

"Die, Slothrop" and other paranoid visions in Berlin, 446

transmutation dream, 446

boards Anubis, 460

vulnerability to "pretty little girls" 465

his drink: Irish whiskey & water, 463

dreaming of Llandudno, 468

with Bianca, 469

"inside his own cock" 470

sexual impulse and rocket hits ("what could it be but the kingly voice of the Aggregate itself"), 470 [See also 26, 120]

"The Imipolex question was planted for him by somebody, back at the Casino Hermann Goering, with hopes it would flower into a full Imipolectique with its own potency in the Zone" 490

further dissipation of, 490

overboard, 491

arrives in Swinemünde, 493

arrives at Peenemünde, 501

dissipation, 507, 509, 510

"better days are coming" 510

Swinemünde, 526

gets hashish from Anubis, 529-32

remembers, 530

dropped off at Stralsund, 532

early August '45, somewhere in northern Germany, 549

"is he drifting?" 556

dissipating, 561

jumped by Schwarzkommando, 562

Plechazunga ("Pig-Hero"), 567

meets Pökler, 575

"Leftenant" 607, 627

being used by Tchitcherine, 612

Mossmoon to Scammony: "We sent him out to destroy the blacks [...]" 615

"out of it" [quitting the game??], 622

"complete connectedness" 623

"feeling natural" 626

"corrupted, given up on, creeps over the face of the Zone" 627

"another rocket-creature" 629

surveillance of (Sparte ["department"] IV), 630-31

harmonica playing heard, 642

"How can [Katje] expect to find Slothrop?" 657-58

adventures of the Floundering Four, 674

wishy-washy, sniveling, 679

has to find Squalidozzi, 681

the dissipation of, 682

"Slothrop's fate is not so clear. It may be that They have something different in mind for Slothrop" 688

bomb in transvestite toilet, 690

reading about Hiroshima, 694

"by now--early Virgo--he has become one plucked albatross [...] Scattered all over the Zone" 712

"his time's assembly" 738

"Slothrop qua Slothrop" 738

"a genuine, point-for-point microcosm" 738

Tarot, 738

"being one of the few who can still see Slothrop as any sort of integral creature at all" 740

"fragments of Slothrop have grown into consistent personae of their own" 742

appearance on cover of LP by "The Fool" 742

Uncle Tyrone, 744

Name Etymology

Tyrone Slothrop is an anagram for "Sloth or Entropy"

S. Lothrop Thorndike published a volume on shape-note singing: The Psalmodies of Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay, Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 1895.

Another stretch, but ... Samuel K. Lothrop (S. Lothrop) was an anthropologist who worked in Central and South America. J.D. Argles emailed me that Lothrop discovered "giant solid stone balls somewhere in Costa Rica, which were never explained. He also had a mild stutter." According to my rather hasty research, his speciality was/is in Pre-Columbian art and archaeology. He was the author of Pottery of Costa Rica and Nicaragua and edited a volume entitled Some Costa Rican Jade Motifs. In Essays in Pre-Columbian Art and Archaeology Samuel K. Lothrop (Ed.), Harvard University Press, Cambridge.

And Pete Marcus muses:

Surely his initials, TS, are related to Pynchon's debt to Eliot, with Slothrop the twentieth-century Everyman wandering through the waste land of modern Europe? Or is that too obvious?

John Stark posits in his book Pynchon's Fictions:

"The name of Tyrone Slothrop [...] presents great difficulties. W.T. Lhamon, Jr., argues that this name combines 'sloth' and 'ROP,' 'the term used when an editor has the right to place an ad wherever is convenient in a paper.' Although the second part of this interpretation makes some sense--despite Slothrop's free movements and those determined by his search for the rocket--the first part ascribes to him a quality that he does not exhibit. Also, Pynchon used this name earlier for a character in 'The Secret Integration' [Dr. Slothrop and his son, Hogan]." (p.13)

Bruce Heinly proposes that "Slothrop" is derived from Lothrop Stoddard (1883-1951), popular American racialist and eugenicist. From Wikipedia:

"Stoddard was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, in 1883, to a prominent New England family. Stoddard received a Ph.D. in History from Harvard University in 1914. He published many books on what he saw as the peril of immigration, his most famous being The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy in 1920. In this book he presented a view of the world situation pertaining to race focusing concern on the coming population explosion among the "colored" peoples of the world and the way in which "white world-supremacy" was being lessened in the wake of World War I and the collapse of colonialism. Stoddard's analysis divided world politics and situations in to "white", "yellow", "black", and "brown" peoples and their interactions. Stoddard argued that race and heredity were the guiding factors of history and civilization, and that the elimination or absorption of the white race by the colored races would result in the destruction of Western civilization. Like Madison Grant, Stoddard divided the white race into three main divisions: Nordic, Alpine, and Mediterranean. He considered all three to be of good stock, and far above the quality of the colored races, but argued that the Nordic was the greatest of the three and needed to be preserved by way of eugenics."

Slothrop also attended Harvard. His character is that of an anti-Stoddard, an intercessor between the races. Pynchon may have become aware of Stoddard through his early interest in The Great Gatsby. Tom Buchanan in the novel enthuses on the racialist ideas of an author named Goddard (a combination of Stoddard's and Madison Grant's last names). The name "Goddard" would have caught Pynchon's attention, since Robert H. Goddard was the inventor of the liquid-fueled rocket.

"Tyrone" is almost certainly a reference to Tyrone Power, star of A Yank in the RAF (1941) IMDB Entry. Because the American Tyrone Slothrop was assigned to the Abreaction Research Facility, this would make him "A Yank in the ARF."

"Tyrone" could also be a nod to Richard Fariña, to whom Gravity's Rainbow is dedicated and whose mother was born in County Tyrone in Ireland. From this article on Fariña:

There is one place where Fariña’s name is still remembered, however. Situated by the banks of Lough Neagh, the townland of Ardboe, in Co Tyrone, may seem an unlikely area to hold a torch for a niche figure from midcentury American bohemian life. But it was from this northern community that Fariña’s mother, Theresa Crozier, emigrated to the United States, and it was there that her son would later make his mark as a young man in the 1950s.

On trips to the rural fishing community, first with his mother and later on his own, Fariña would go out on the lake with his uncles and cousins, experiences that would later feature in his fiction. With his dark good looks – his father was originally from Cuba – he cut a striking figure among the wider population in Ardboe.
Gravity's Rainbow Alpha Guide
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