Chapter 20

Please keep these annotations SPOILER-FREE by not revealing information from later pages in the novel.

Page numbers refer to editions with 369 pages, where the story begins on page 1. Not sure if there are other editions with variant pagination. Please let us know otherwise.

Page 351

inherent vice
Here's a good discussion of this phrase.

original sin
a Christian doctrine that says everyone is born sinful [1].

Page 352

Hawaii Five-o was still on.
Late evening Thursday, May 7, 1970. Ordinarily, the show was on Wednesdays from 10 to 11 P.M.

Page 353

that Ada whom I have never trusted since A Summer Place [1959]

Not exactly the most meaningful reference, but the same actress - Constance Ford - played both Ada in the soap opera Another World and the unsympathetic character Helen in the movie A Summer Place.

This appears to be the only instance in the novel where the year of a movie is indicated in square brackets. Typo?

For those inclined to possibilities that require a bit of a stretch, it could also conceivably be construed to be an oblique reference to the Nabokov novel, which was published in 1969. As is fairly well known, Pynchon once took a course from Nabokov, and there are some similarities in their work, though that's a whole 'nother subject.

Page 354

Next morning the fire bell went off,
Morning, Friday, May 8, 1970.

you might want to wear some Sperry Topsiders instead of that one huarache?
A rather odd comment, since it would appear that Sauncho hasn't seen Doc since he lost the huarache (page 327). They talked on the beach on page 340-341, where Sauncho gave his "courtroom summary" on the subject of time, but that's presented as a dream (before Doc is "fire-gonged" awake by Crocker Fenway). Doc and Sauncho also talked on page 351, where Sauncho defined inherent vice, but that was apparently a flashback, since it doesn't seem that Sauncho was in Doc's apartment while Doc was looking at photos, watching Hawaii Five-0 and talking to his parents. Perhaps the dream was not actually a dream?

Like Gilligan?
Another explicit linking of Doc and Gilligan. See page 89 and page 92.

Sperry Topsiders
Literally boat shoes, i.e. shoes specified for wearing on boats. The Richard Dreyfuss character in Jaws wears Sperry Topsiders.

Page 355

like Easter Island in reverse
A beautiful way to describe the surfers. Easter Island is a Pacific island famous for its human stone figures who were placed in a line on land, looking out over the ocean, as seen here.

Page 358

Cortes Bank
Site of a mountain range only a few feet below the surface of the ocean over a hundred miles out from the California coast. Famous for huge waves that just began to be surfed in the mid-90s. Watch Mike Parsons talk about surfing there and catching the biggest wave ever, over 70 feet, documented as having been ridden.

Page 359

kiss her transom goodbye
According to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, transom means: "1.d. any of several transverse timbers or beams secured to the sternpost of a boat; also, the planking forming the stern of a square-ended boat." So, basically, kiss her ass (or fantail, as Sauncho calls it on page 356) goodbye.

Page 360

Or what if they want Mildred to strangle Veda at the end, like she does in the book?
Refers to the film Mildred Pierce, set in Southern California and much changed from the novel by James M. Cain.

what, helpfully, wasn't yet a quitting time crowd.
Late afternoon, Friday, May 8, 1970.

Page 363

You know what the Indians say. You saved my life, now you've got to-
Recalls the bit in Against the Day between Scarsdale Vibe and Foley Walker: "You know what the Indians out west believe? That if you save the life of another, he becomes your responsibility forever" (p. 101). Also referred to on p. 171 of this book.

Chapter 1
pp. 1-18
Chapter 2
pp. 19-45
Chapter 3
pp. 46-49
Chapter 4
pp. 50-54
Chapter 5
pp. 55-67
Chapter 6
pp. 68-88
Chapter 7
pp. 89-110
Chapter 8
pp. 111-123
Chapter 9
pp. 124-153
Chapter 10
pp. 154-162
Chapter 11
pp. 163-185
Chapter 12
pp. 186-206
Chapter 13
pp. 207-234
Chapter 14
pp. 235-255
Chapter 15
pp. 256-274
Chapter 16
pp. 275-295
Chapter 17
pp. 296-314
Chapter 18
pp. 315-342
Chapter 19
pp. 343-350
Chapter 20
pp. 351-363
Chapter 21
pp. 364-369
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