The more technology seems to free us the more it also confines us. Ironic, isn't it? Gibson explores both these sides of the technology coin in Neuromancer. Cyberspace allows Case the ability to be free of the "meat" of his body and all the bad stuff of the world like disease, overpopulation, and violence. But the threat of flatlining also confines him and threatens to trap him in cyberspace forever. Molly's technological modifications free her from her previous life as a squatter, but what she had to do to get those modifications confine her to constant guilt about the past. Freedom and confinement are balancing forces in Gibson's world. You can't have one without the other.
Questions About Freedom and Confinement
- Many of the characters seem to be seeking their personal freedom. Who are these characters, and what are they looking to be freed from? Do they succeed? How do you know?
- What social forces confine the characters of the novel (economics, politics, culture, etc)? Does one social force seem to confine more than the rest? Why or why not?
- Is Wintermute's personal quest an expression of freedom or confinement? Why do you think so?
- In your own life, how do you see technology as a source of freedom and/or confinement?
Chew on This
Case has freed himself from his past after making his peace with Linda in Neuromancer's world. Molly, however, does not get a chance to free herself from her past because she never confronts Hideo.
The lower social classes like those of Night City have more freedom to pursue their desires than the Tessier-Ashpools. But that freedom comes at the cost of a more volatile and dangerous life.