Refuge and refuse in Slow Learner
in Thomas Pynchon
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Of the stories reprinted in Thomas Pynchon's Slow Learner, this chapter discusses three in detail: 'Low-lands', 'The Secret Integration' and 'Entropy'. These have been selected because they best represent Pynchon's earliest articulations of some of the tropes and ideas that have preoccupied him throughout his writing career. 'Low-lands' concerns itself most explicitly with the pressures of American conformity as they exert themselves at mid-century, and the possible paths that might lead to liberation or transcendence. 'The Secret Integration', in its comic fantasy of children's attempts to rebel against a dominant white society, imagines a politics built around secrecy, espionage and private spaces. 'Entropy' is Thomas Pynchon's most anthologised work and has come to be regarded as an early incarnation of many of the thematics that would go on to characterise his writing as a whole.

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