Study Guide

Neuromancer Isolation

By William Gibson

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Does technology bring us closer together or push us further apart? Neuromancer seems to support both possibilities. The technological developments that have lead to the urbanization of the Sprawl have brought people living in closer quarters, but the same technology means no one can trust anyone else. Riviera isolates himself behind a barrier of holograms. Yet, Molly and Case genuinely grow closer to each other through the simstim. And what about Armitage? He exists to keep his other persona, Corto, imprisoned within their shared mind. When it comes to the debate, this novel is, according to Shmoop's word-of-the-day calendar, ambivalent.

Questions About Isolation

  1. Pick a character. When does this character experience isolation in Neuromancer? What makes them isolated from others? Do they make connections with others? What affect does this have on your reading of isolation in the novel?
  2. Are the digital characters like Wintermute and the Dixie Flatline isolated from the world? Why or why not? Does this change for any of the digital characters by the end?
  3. What technologies create the greatest sense of isolation in Neuromancer? Why do you think this is so? 
  4. Do you find that technology in your own life isolates you or helps you connect with others? Why do you suppose this is? Can you find any parallels in Neuromancer?

Chew on This

Riviera's modifications serve to isolate him more than they do to trick others.

Although cyberspace is said to be a "consensual hallucination," Case never meets anyone else in the matrix except for computer programs (3.94).

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