Leaving a Part of Yourself Behind

At the very end of Neuromancer, Case sees three people on the virtual beach of the matrix. It is not surprising to see the grey eyed Neuromancer boy and Linda Lee there – they were there the last time Case visited the beach. The third figure is very confusing, however. Case sees himself standing on the beach, which leads to the perplexing question why does he see himself in cyberspace?

I don’t know the answer, but my guess is that Case left a part of himself behind in the matrix when he finished the Straylight run. Specifically, he left behind the junkie, addict part of himself that craved cyberspace and drugs with reckless abandon. The last few pages offer some evidence to support this theory. Case spends most of his earnings on a new pancreas and liver, purchases that would not make sense if he planned to continue destroying them with drugs and alcohol. True, he also buys a new Ono-Sendai to access cyberspace, but Gibson clearly notes that Case also finds work. Instead of using his Ono-Sendai to feed his cyberspace addiction, Case uses it for legitimate work. Gibson also points out that Case finds himself a girl, which implies moving on from his drug addict ex-girlfriend Linda. It seems that Case has gotten his life together by the end of the novel, and therefore the Case we see in cyberspace symbolizes his past life being left behind where it belongs – trapped in cyberspace.

In many ways, Case leaving behind his addict self is like Harry leaving behind the horcrux part of himself in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Pt. 2). Both Case and Harry leave a bad part of themselves in a fantasy realm, and sometimes that is the only way to improve as a person.

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