One of the definitions found in the dictionary for the word entropy was “the inevitable and steady deterioration of a system or society.” Although Pynchon’s story focused on two individuals rather than a society, there is still a sense of deterioration in each of the individual’s systematic lifestyle. The two main characters, Meatball who lives his life as a constant party and Callisto the hermit like older man who cut himself off from the world, were two extremes of how a person can live their life. By the end of the story however, both characters systematic lifestyles deteriorate and both become tired of the paths they have chosen. .
At the beginning of the story the reader finds Meatball asleep on the third floor of the building in an apartment filled with partygoers drinking, smoking and listening to music. Everyone seems to be scattered at the moment but Pynchon mentions that the party is gathering its second wind and that this debauchery has been going on for three days. After awakening from a nap, Meatball is offered some “tea” by one of his friends to which he responds “No,no. How many times I got to tell you guys. Not at my place. You ought to know, Washington is lousy with Feds.” This can lead one to believe that this isn’t the first party taking place in this apartment, and certainly not the last. His friend replies to the rejection by saying “Jeez, Meatball. You don’t want to do nothing no more.” The reader can see that a change in character is already beginning to take place in Meatball. .
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Meanwhile upstairs on the fourth floor, Callisto, a fragile old man, is awakened by the music being played at the gathering down below. Pynchon mentions that Callisto is holding on to a small sick bird that he has been nursing to health for the past three days. This begins to show Callistos quiet caring nature that he has. Pynchon then continues to describe Callisto’s apartment as a “hothouse jungle that had taken him seven years to weave together.