The Soul Of The New Machine

2279 words - 9 pages

The Soul of the New Machine Over the last two decades, a technological revolution has occurred as computers have become essential to our society. The rapid development of computer technologies has brought people infinite convenience and a higher standard of living. However, increasing numbers of people have lost their souls and identities because of excessively immersing their lives in the cyberspace. In high-tech corporations, many employees lack social skills, forming their own unique computer culture. This cultural phenomenon is interesting in that it challenges the meaning of modern technology in the terms of seeking a better life. In Microserfs, Douglas Coupland explores the nature of life through the eyes of a code tester at Microsoft, Daniel Underwood. Through Daniel's diary, we come to see the aimlessness of the computer geeks' life, one that is dependent upon computers and modern technology. Coupland describes his character's attempt to find the meaning of life in an environment devoid of social or personal lives, addressing the significance of human contact and interaction in today's society. Coupland uses the diary style, appeals to the emotions, compares humans and machines, and explores changes in characters' life styles to argue that human intimacy and love are central to the fulfillment and enhancement of our lives in the modern computerized world regardless of the amount of money and the kinds of jobs we have.Diary style also has many advantages that can spark the readers' curiosity, attract the readers' attention, and be easily understood. Diaries are usually used to keep personal memories and secrets, and importantly human beings have the natural desire to explore the unknown. Moreover, the readers feel they are having an intimate look into the character's life, immersing themselves into the details of the character's life. At the same time, readers can digest the novel easily, finding new nuggets each time.Coupland employs his unique diary style to argue that many computer geeks lack the intimacy and love they need. He points out that Daniel does not feel fulfilled because he interacts only with computers and his diary rather than people. Daniel tells us, "I was PowerBooking my journal entry and I could feel Karla watching me, and I got a little self-conscious. I said, "˜I guess it's sort of futile trying to keep a backup file of my personal memories"¦'"(359). At first Coupland shows that Daniel lacks social skills or at least an interest in a social life. The words "little self-conscious" show that he is uncomfortable around people. Therefore, he heavily relies on his diary to communicate. The word "little" truthfully reflects Daniel's unpleasant heart. It seems as if talking constantly to the computer screen cannot satisfy him with complete joy and pleasure. This hints to readers that he is looking for a better life, and we see this in the later chapters. In fact, Coupland reveals that diary entries are not...

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