Gravity's Rainbow Revisited

I've been considering the following two passages from Pynchon's novel:


Now there grows among all the rooms, replacing the night's old smoke, alcohol and sweat, the fragile, musaceous odor of Breakfast: flowery, permeating, surprising, more than the color of winter sunlight, taking over not so much through any brute pungency or volume as by the high intricacy to the weaving of its molecules, sharing the conjuror's secret by which--though it is not often Death is told so clearly to fuck off--the living genetic chains prove even labyrinthine enough to preserve some human face down ten or twenty generations...so the same assertion-through-structure allows this war morning's banana fragrance to meander, repossess, prevail. Is there any reason not to open every window, and let the kind scent blanket all Chelsea? As a spell, against falling objects... (p.10)


"Fuck you," whispers Slothrop. It's the only spell he knows, and a pretty good all-purpose one at that. (p.203)

Obviously, the sense of "spell" can articulate these moments. What's striking, really, is that not only are words and scents (a pun on sense?) considered spells, but, as such, they are also functionally the same kinds of things. The continually weaving molecular fabric of being-in-flux is the physical "assertion-through-structure" of life. Matter, energy, and information--in some shifting ratio or relation--are the indissociable elements of conjuration. Foucault roll over, but the power of fragrance and the power of words are here understood as no different.

Now, through this lens, rather than through that of semiotics, consider the Olson passage I'd posted below. Interesting.