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Both Robert Lowell’s For the Union Dead and Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow evince an anxiety over Puritanism that is ineluctably bound to the sociological conditions of 1960s’ American culture. Each work envisions an America where the old Calvinist binary of elect (the few chosen by God for salvation) and preterite (those left behind—everybody else) has collapsed under Cold War threats of nuclear annihilation, thus reconfiguring the two driving concepts behind the Puritans’ errand into the New World: the apocalypse and salvation. In an uncannily similar fashion, Lowell and Pynchon suggest that the Puritan desire for salvation has developed into a secular pursuit of material wealth, and that this pursuit, in turn, has led to this technocratic nuclear tension. With grim irony, these works claim that America’s capitalist pursuit of technology to save itself in a strained geopolitical environment has actually created a nation of preterition.