Writing in 1998, Brian McHale accepts the "prestigious, high-culture sources" to which Gravity's Rainbow's many angels have been attributed by critics, including most importantly Walter Benjamin's "Theses on the Philosophy of History" and Rainer Maria Rilke's tenth Duino elegy, but McHale also suggests we might see in Pynchon a forerunner of the angel craze in 1990s "pop-culture iconology" and link him to less "sublime" (1998, 306, 307) meditations on American angelhood
According to Hobson, Lawrence is "fascinated" by Fra Angelico's "concept of angelhood
": "It provides a model of the kind of angelhood
to which his colonist should aspire" (100).
But there's a bigger and more interesting question about angelhood
that runs throughout, and that's what the best thing is to do for the world," Samuel says.
Words, as precocious cherubs, demonic despite angelhood
, gifted yet flawed, mischievous, willfully intent on havoc, rush at my mouth, a gutter awash in a post-storm overflow, filling it better than my dentist, who, for me, morphed rapidly into an aphorism that hangs around, as they do, that I can reliably call on to perform on cue, distilled, like disinfectant mouthwash, compressed, like a packed tooth, profitable as his fees.
During my fieldwork at City School, Mina (age 18) was featured in a news article in which the teen-mother-as-victim-of-sexual-abuse theme was prominent and a pull-quote by the teacher in Mina's Teen-Age Parents Program read, "The fastest way from slut to angelhood
is becoming a madonna.
She ascribed the tale's attraction to Anny's singular capacity to disclose 'the secrets which lie within that mixture of sanctity and supposed angelhood
in which the heart of a petty girl is veiled from close inspection.
Finally, the very old man is able to fly away from the small village, the mystery of his angelhood