Is "The Crying of Lot 49" in favor of an American ideal or critical of it? "American ideal" is supposed to represent things like technology, popular culture, academia and communication

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Well, if you only have those two choices, I'd have to say it is critical of this ideal. However, one can be in favor of an ideal, and still be critical of it, and I'd say that's what happens here. Pynchon's work depends on the existence of American ideals (particularly freedom and community), and he often writes about topics that have shaped American society, such as World War II.

In this work, I'd say he is critical of it, in that he focuses on showing many of the ways it fails its believers, and some of the ways it is flawed.

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