Early in Gravity's Rainbow, in the first section where we're privy to Slothrop's stream-of-consciousness, he muses:

A lot of stuff prior to 1944 is getting blurry now. He can remember the first Blitz only as a long spell of good luck. Nothing that the Luftwaffe dropped came near him. But this last summer they started in with those buzzbombs.

--Part I, section 4, page 21 of the Viking edition

A bit later, in his conversation with Tantivy about "operational paranoia," he says:

"I don't want to upset you but... I mean I'm four years overdue's what it is, it could happen any time...."

--Ibid., page 25

The London Blitz lasted from September 1940 to May 1941, which lines up with "four years" passing between it and the the conversation with Tantivy, which takes place sometime between the first V-2 attack on London (September 1944) and early December 1944, which is the "present day" of the novel's opening.

BUT Slothrop is a lieutenant in the U.S. Army, which of course wasn't a belligerent in WWII until December, 1941. So what was he doing in London during the Blitz? Do his activities between his Harvard graduation (class of 1940) and the U.S. entry into the war ever get discussed in more detail?


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