Molly: Dominant or Submissive?

In last week’s discussion, Rebecca pointed out that Gibson deliberately created Molly to represent a future society in which women are equivalent to men. Although I agreed with the argument Rebecca made, I believe this statement to be only partially true. After encountering the new developments in the recent chapters of Neuromancer, I believe that Gibson created Molly’s character as an intricate mix of dominant and subordinate characteristics.

Throughout the recent chapters, Molly is still portrayed as a strong woman in many ways.  Through the action of simstim, it is apparent that Molly controls the relationship between herself and Case. Case can listen to Molly and feel all of her experiences, but this relationship is only one-dimensional. The exchange that goes on between the two is fully controlled by Molly; Case has no way of responding. These roles are exemplified when Molly decides to share intimate details of her past romance with Case through simstim. She herself up emotionally, yet Case does not have the opportunity to react or reciprocate. The depth of their relationship is fully controlled by Molly.

Another Case in which Molly establishes her dominance is when she continues down a detour, disregarding Wintermute’s orders to turn around. This defiance shows that she holds little regard for authority and is completely confident in her ability to make the right decision. Although this decision leads her to danger, the fact that she followed her intuition displays Molly as a confident and independent character.

On the other hand, Gibson also includes many scenes that portray Molly as submissive to other characters in the recent chapters. Molly appears to have some insecurity that surface when she views the mutilated prostitute while she is with Ashpool. Her insecurity stems from her past as a prostitute, and the constant mention of these events in her past indicates that she cannot move past these setbacks.

In addition, Molly is shown as a subordinate character through the injury of her leg. Because of this injury, Molly ends up in a situation where she is completely dominated by Riviera and 3Jane. Her confidence wavers when she admits that she doesn’t expect to make it out of the mission alive.

Molly’s weaknesses are included in the novel to show that she is not superhuman. Although she is portrayed as a dominant female, Gibson must give her some weaknesses in order to ensure that she is still viewed as a human. However, the mixture of dominant and submissive traits makes it difficult for the reader to form a conclusion about the larger purpose of Molly’s character.

1 comment
  1. Extremely well written and reasoned, Erica. You’re employing a couple of key moves here, using both the “they say” and the “agree, but with a difference.” I think we’ll continue talking about this tomorrow.

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