Date of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


English Literature

First Advisor

Christopher Hager


By analyzing the concurrent presences of television and drug use within Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice, I will argue that the book presents 1970 as a time when the counterculture was facing a losing battle to authority and to its own hedonistic impulses. Why and how are these elements so pervasive, and what does their effect have on the characters? Television and drugs are both pacifying by being all-consuming, and create an altered sense of time and place. They are modes of consumption that consume the characters in the novel (best categorized as “hippies,” those that attempted to revolt against the status quo through a denial of its conventions), and distract them from the social unrest and political changes going on in the background of the United States at the time. These elements are related to the vague sense of nostalgia in the novel (the text itself is in the form of nostalgic pastiche), as the characters implicitly and explicitly long for a different time and a place.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in English Literature.