Thomas Pynchon’s novel The Crying of Lot 49 contains an abundance of themes and ideas, including anti-government sentiment, female empowerment, and toxic capitalism. One way to write a paper on Pynchon’s novel would be to pick a theme of interest and discuss it in detail.
If anti-government sentiments are of interest, perhaps the paper could center on Mike Fallopian. The paper could discuss his leadership of the Peter Pinguid Society and his resistance to the government’s dominance of the mail system. The paper could draw connections between Fallopian and real-life libertarian groups who stringently oppose the United States government and believe it is up to no good.
If female empowerment is more of interest, maybe the paper could center on Oedipa. It could discuss the main character in the terms of feminism. A thesis might argue that Oedipa’s narrative—with its myriad adventures and affairs—represents the kind of determined, willful, sexually-liberated woman that would qualify as a feminist.
As for the exploitative, toxic nature of capitalism—this could make for another paper that parallels contemporary society. This paper might compare Pierce Inverarity to real-life rich people who used their wealth to do heinous things. It could also discuss Yoyodyne in terms of the military industrial complex and the jejune culture of manufacturing weapons and wars.
If none of these ideas or themes are appealing, it might be fascinating to write a paper about how The Crying of Lot 49 could be read as an adventure novel. Finally, maybe writing a paper about the general zany nature of the novel would be helpful. Perhaps the paper could discuss the ways in which Pynchon successfully (or unsuccessfully) brings together the myriad themes, references, and ideologies to create an eccentric narrative.