Some quotes from a randomly found article.
What does cultural materialism do? It seeks “to allow the literary text to ‘recover its histories’ which previous kinds of study have often ignored” although the “relevant history is not just that of four hundred years ago, but that of the times (including our own)
The cultural materialist is likewise “optimistic about the possibility of change and is willing at times to see literature as a course of oppositional values”—oppositional, that is, to the “structures of feeling” that are the “dominant ideologies within a society” (Barry 183-4). This creates a need to consider “ALL forms of culture” (183), or in other words to climb deeper the way Oedipa does.
Oedipa’s paranoia could well be called optimism, faith that she is not crazy, but that a structure exists in which she CAN find answers. In fact, she can hardly afford NOT to believe it, with so many showcases of that structure materializing around her.
This cultural materialist optimism about “the possibility of change” would suggest, in both cases, that the disinheritance serves the characters for the better, directing them toward a more enlightening epiphany of their place in the world.
In fact, this theme persists in many examples that find room in those branches of that tree. This theme is better defined as a fairy tale escapism, the classic stepping into another world in hopes of a higher understanding. Could it be that, for example, THE MATRIX of the Wachowski brothers has more in common with LOT 49 than just postmodernism?
Like Neo of THE MATRIX, she seeks an escape from isolation and ignorance into a Wonderland where if nothing else she might feel free.
Everything from a rabbit hole and a looking glass to a wardrobe and a vision becomes a doorway into an underworld, or simply ANOTHER world in which the characters at least hope to find clarity.
Wonderland, the Matrix, Never Land, Narnia…these are only advantageous to their guests so far as they can provide a better way for them to see themselves.
This is an escape and indoctrination into a world to the extent that the visitors become “aliens” to their own original setting, no longer contributing to its dominant morality. Alice cannot forget Wonderland, Neo chooses to remain separate from the Matrix, and Oedipa, apparently, cannot continue unless as “unfurrowed, assumed full circle.”
The cultural materialist would best identify with the question Oedipa asks herself: “Shall I project a world?”
In this case, the theory and the texts do not simply validate each other, but instead confirm the structure to which they belong. This structure, in its very essence, seeks to “project” in a variety of ways new worlds by which to interpret reality.