Identity is a sticky issue in any world, and Gibson's futuristic world is no different. Each character expresses his or her identity through various means. For Case and Molly, it's initially their jobs. For others like the Panther Moderns, it's their physical appearance and the groups they hang out with. For Armitage, it's the reprogrammed memories of a betrayed man. In a way, Neuromancer is a novel about the search for identity and how we manifest it once we find it. Wintermute is seeking his other half in Neuromancer, and Case and Armitage both rediscover who they are, each with, shall we say, varying degrees of success.
Questions About Identity
- Technology plays a huge role in Neuromancer. Do we see characters creating identities based on technology? Do we see characters rejecting technology as a means of furnishing identity? How so?
- At the beginning of the novel, Case's identity is completely wrapped up in becoming a console cowboy again. Do we see a change in Case and how he identifies himself at the end of the novel? What about Molly; does her identity change by the novel's end? How can you tell?
- How are the identities of Wintermute and Neuromancer different? How are they the same? What can we deduce about the novel's ending based on this information?
- How do you use technology to express your identity? Do you see a parallel between yourself and a character from Neuromancer? Why or why not?
Chew on This
Armitage is a character who completely understands and accepts his own identity. Corto, on the other hand, had some serious identity issues.
Wintermute has no identity of his own, he only has drive. To get his hands on an identity, he has to fuse with Neuromancer.