Ah Jung's Second Paper Draft

Jennifer Wilson is a woman who is working as an office lady; she doesn’t do an outstanding job, or a bad job. She doesn’t create conflict with colleagues and has a fair number of friends. She drives a silver-colored Camry, makes a moderate amount of money, and she loves watching football games—a typical American. One day, she wants to create an account on an internet site. But soon she finds out that her usual ID, “jenniferw” is already being used by another user. She tries to think about another ID, but cannot think of any. All of the sudden, she starts to think about the other Jennifer with the last name that starts with W, who is using the same ID as her, and what makes her special and different from the other Jennifer W. and numerous other Jennifers. This Jennifer is panicked. People might have faced this type of confusion in their life at some moment. This trend of standardization, however, is occurring in our society; the individual lacks uniqueness. In this novel, this unifying force is described as the world being a global village. William Gibson suggests that people need to pursue their own identity against the world’s unifying force through a journey similar to Cayce’s in which she follows footage on the internet.
Recently, the world has been moving into a direction different from the historical movement: rather than diversifying and composing a heterogeneous diversified society as people have historically done, people are living in a homogeneous society through globalization. Globalization is one of the main themes that Gibson points out. Nowadays, the world has gone in such a similar direction that it become virtually indistinguishable in some ways. “Mirror-world traffic has [Cayce’s] foot foolishly working a phantom brake” (60), and she can hear the mirror-world sound of ambulances anywhere other than London (56). The numerous aspects of mirror-world, the world resembles London, that Cayce encounters show this one-way directional evolution of cities. Gibson, however, essentially criticizes globalization by gives off an image of the influential commercial aspect of recent trends. A reckless and materialistic, huge, globally-forceful advertisement company, the Blue Ant, is one of the main subjects of criticism. While he is not interested at all in the contents of footage, Bigend’s bold ambition in contacting footage’s creator just for an advertisement, and hiring Dorotea only for the same purpose while knowing that she is an industrial espion are the negative images that Gibson borrowed from the recent commercialistic movement of corporations. Also, using franchised mass-reproducible images that people unconsciously think cute, Gibson acutely criticizes the people’s unfiltered-passive taste. “Kogepan, the clueless-looking homunculus” (148), that is not just as successful global franchise character as Hello Kitty, which insinuates that people around the world are bedazzled by commercial advertisement and intention of corporations without sensing that those forces standardize themselves.
As a mean for seeking Cayce’s identity, footage serves as very interesting point. In this novel, footage is described as the utmost product of originality while it has a power to touch anonymous people from diverse environment. Footage itself is an ironic content that serves as both the most original product, and at the same time, serves as a variety-creating force on network. Against the many mirror-world images and unifying forces prevalent everywhere, the footage from nowhere actually draws people to be interested in. with a single source of footage, people create variety from itself—people divided into the “Progressive” and the “Completists” (49). It means that people conquest the unifying force of internet by forming an opinion and be an “individual” distinguishes from anyone else.
Cayce acquires her true identity through her journey following footage. Before she starts to follow the footage, she suffers by soul-delay, literally a “jetlag,” for a long time. However, symbolically, she doesn’t really have her soul, which is most essential part of one’s identity. Although Cayce doesn’t realize that the reason she doesn’t have her soul and is trying to pursue the footage is the absence of her father. Since parents are the primary sources of children in forming their identity, Cayce, who lost her father, and who has to assume that her father is dead even without proper evidence, still suffers a trauma about it. This unreasonable and unfathomable missing of her father is the main reason for her pursuit of identity. Cayce is a character who is especially attached to originality. Her aversion toward the commercial logos and brands are strangely strong, so that she even “de-DKNYied” her clothings’ logo to keep her CPU, which means Cayce Pollard Units—the clothing Cayce wears, to be completely original and favors her Rickson Jacket, which still bares the museum quality originality. This is where Cayce’s personal interest, more eager than anyone else, about footage initially begins. She thinks that “anything other than footage is Off Topic” (48). She considers the world, even the News are Off topic. Since Cayce is missing part ofher identity due to the absence of her father, she tries to fill this void by following footage. Footage’s originality establishes its clear and unique identity, which Cayce is also trying to establish. Thus, when Cayce finally finds out that footage has been created by Nora, who has lost her parents in the same 9/11-related explosion that deprived Nora and Cayce of their father, Cayce superimposes herself on to Nora.
“[Cayce] feels as though something huge has happened, is happening [though] she can’t define it. She knows that it’s about meeting Stella, and hearing her story, and her sisters, but somehow she no longer is able to fit it to her life. Or rather she lives now in that story, her life left somewhere befind, like a room she’s stepped out of. Not far away at all but she is no longer in” (303).
At last, Cayce is rewarded for her fanatic following of footage. By meeting Stella and Nora, Cayce realizes the reason for her vacant feeling deals with identity, and gets the data existing about her father’s disappearance, so that she can finally get out of her obsession to her father for her identity. From that very moment, Cayce thinks: “[Win’s] very missingness becoming, somehow him” (302). Cayce finally accepts the fact that her father is gone. Now, it is not the temporary fill of her father’s absence anymore but the true recognition of her father, which means an entirely new start point of her journey, looking for things to fill up the empty hall in her mind.
William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition deals with society’s prevalent conflicts about one’s identity, using a complex character, Cayce Pollard, and her journey for identity. Though her obsession with apparel and logos seems odd, it is her unique method to find what really she is. And, through the happy ending Gibson suggests that people need to maintain their own virtue of oddness as a part of their identity against societal unifying forces.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License