As we read Gibson’s Neuromancer, we come across the character of Molly, who is in no way a simple, one-dimensional character. When she is introduced on page 25, we get a glimpse of what we are in store for throughout the rest of the novel with a conversation between Molly and Case. Case responds to Molly’s request to leave by saying: “Hey I’m very easy. I’m a pushover, no problem.” “That’s fine, man.” The fletcher vanished into the black jacket. “Because if you try to fuck around with me, you’ll be taking one of the stupidest chances of your whole life” She held out her hands, palms up, the white fingers slightly spread, and with a barely audible click, ten double-edged, four centimeter scalpel blades slid from their housings beneath the burgundy nails. She smiled. The blades slowly withdrew.”
In this first meeting, it is revealed to us that Molly is not quite human, having razorblades under her fingernails and heightened senses. She is known as a “Razor-Girl” or a “Street Ninja”. Molly is not your typical run-of-the-mill woman. She is an assassin for a living, and is not afraid to show it through her actions, attitude, and the way that she is dressed. She lives very fearlessly and expresses very little emotion, not because she has to for her profession, because that is how she is. The reality of the world does not affect her. Heck, at one point in the novel she injures her leg very badly and does not seem to flinch!
In Neuromancer, there is a kind of gender role reversal that is interesting to me. We see that Molly takes Case out to shop and on dates (of course after utilizing him for some “physical” purposes), and pays for everything. It is like Molly is taking Case out on a date. Now I feel that this has to do with the gender role reversal, but also Molly’s status. She has a very “respected” occupation (not respected in the traditional sense of the word, but the fear she instills in others gives her the well deserved respect), and can afford to spend money on her “date”, just as a chivalrous man does in today’s society.
When reading Haraway’s “Cyborg Manifesto”, she gives us a definition of a cyborg. She defines a cyborg as: “a cybernistic organism, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction”. Now of course the topic I will present now is if Molly is a cyborg, which really is a perplexing question.
When someone thinks of the typical cyborg, we think of The Terminator from the movies, a being sent on a mission to accomplish a task, nothing more, nothing less. When looking at Molly, I personally have a tough time distinguishing if in fact she is a cyborg or not, because she is such a complex character with attributes favoring both sides of the argument. First, lets start physically.
Molly is a very slender girl with the tools to complete any task that is bestowed upon her. She has razorblades under her fingernails, heightened senses, and “sunglasses” implanted into her head for advanced optics. We learn that Molly had herself surgically altered to get these modifications; she was not constructed from metal and robotics. So, physically, even with these new and helpful devices, I would have to say that Molly is not a cyborg in that manner.
Now we move on to the more perplexing part of Molly, her mental state. Haraway states in one section about the attitude/personality of a cyborg: “The cyborg is resolutely committed to partiality, irony, intimacy, and perversity. It is oppositional, utopian, and completely without innocence.” We see many of these same characteristics in Molly. She is pretty awesome, not having much care about anyone or anything (other than her job of course), utilizing whatever she wants to get whatever she needs. If she wants sex, she can get it. Bacon, a rarity in this world, bring in on, it’s hers. One interesting topic that I remember discussing in class was Molly’s vulnerability. We do not really see her vulnerable in any part of this story, except when she discusses her past. We learn that in order to acquire the money to pay for her modifications, she basically sells herself. I feel that she did anything and everything to get those modifications, and she ultimately achieved her goal. After a lifestyle and the multiple experiences such as these, one could not really be vulnerable anymore. Those experiences shaped her into the character we see in this book. So, mentally, yes I think she is a cyborg.
Overall, we see Molly as an interesting character in this story, and probably the most complex. She makes this story very interesting, even though she seems very one-dimensional; we see that in fact she is very complex and fascinating. So, overall, I believe Molly is a cyborg, but an interesting and untraditional one in respects to our typical definition.