Formal Analysis of Galatea 2.2
The novel became important in 19th century as the middle-class became more educated and desired entertainment. With the coming of 20th century and its sophisticated technologies, the form of the novel expanded to include science fiction: a genre that combines mankind's awe of new technology and the age-old attribute of fantasy. Writers of science fiction found it necessary to employ the traditional style of the novel in their modern works. This is one of the main points in Richard Powers' "Galatea 2.2". He combines realism of the traditional English novel with fantasy of the future world.
"Galatea 2.2"’s fantastic is not a concrete one: the fictional plan appears here to be natural. As an autobiographical novel, the narrative represents the point of view of the narrator who always speaks in first person. He seems to be objective toward himself, and also toward the society that he enters. Through his words, the narration goes fluidly from past to present, but it is actually in the future. It is implementation that almost always makes connections with Powers' past: C. It is also implementation that makes him look to the future. But this is just one level of the narrative: the near future level. This plan has a limited space and time. Its place is the Center in U., and rarely is it passing these boundaries. Its time is also limited: one year, until the Ph.D. test. While one is reading, there is always a feeling of time’s pressure. The second level of the novel, C., is one of love and memory. Here the time seems to be mythic, and space is the world: U. and B. in the States; E. in the Netherlands, etc. The narrator explores both plans with the same close attention, details and intensity. The...
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...-last words: ‘Don't stay away too long.’" (329) Also he paraphrases and cites the most significant novels, plays and poems of the past like "Pygmalion", "Tempest", "Don Quixote", "Frankenstein", "Paradise Lost", etc. Each of these connections bring a symbolic texture to the entire work.
So who was the center of the plot: Powers, AI or C.? Who ultimately won? And where are the infamous "last-words"? This novel in its ambiguity and realism, leaves us with a sense that this story will go on and in some strange way we want to be a part of it. It takes us from a past real world to the fiction of the future where "The brain is wider than the sky" and "deeper than the sea" (Epigraph); and fact and fiction "differ [...]/ As syllable from sound." (Epigraph, 11-12).
Powers, Richard. Galatea 2.2. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. 1996