by William Gibson
Linda Lee is Case's kindasorta girlfriend at the beginning of the novel. The relationship doesn't last long, though, because she steals Case's supply of black market RAM in an attempt to get Case to "pursue and punish her" (23.58). Unfortunately, when she tries to pawn the hot merchandise, she's killed on the orders of Julius Deane.
The Woes of Being Refrigerated
Linda Lee is a surprisingly important character for someone who dies in the second chapter of the novel. Case's guilt over her death serves as a type of motivation for him, which means our poor (thieving) girl has been stuffed in the fridge like so much cheese.
Typically when characters like Linda Lee get refrigerated, it provides a clear sense of purpose for our hero, but Case is an antihero, which means it's hard to define what Linda's death drives him toward. Case blames Wintermute for what happened to her and he gets super upset at Wintermute for trying to manipulate him with his memories of her. In fact, he shoots Wintermute in the matrix for the offense (9.120). Yet, he still helps Wintermute pull off his little scheme. What can we say? It's complicated.
Linda Lee's character gets more complex when we discover that the Neuromancer drew her into his world before she died. That means she lives on as data within the matrix—how's that for immortality? According to Neuromancer, her thoughts are her own, and "[t]o live [in his world] is to live" (23.49). At the end of the novel, we see her living freely in the matrix with Neuromancer and another bizarro Case.
This leads to a whole bunch of questions. What actually becomes of Linda Lee? Did Case do what he did to free Linda Lee, Wintermute, or the pancreas cleanser? Has Case forgiven himself for what happened to her? Who is that other Case? The novel is mum on answers, so Shmoop amongst yourselves.