Storytelling in Richard Powers' "The Gold Bug Variations"

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The act of storytelling goes hand-in-hand with human existence. The evolution of man from that of a single celled organism into the complex structure that we now know today in and of itself is a story. A story that is written in the genetic code of our Deoxyribonucleic Acid or DNA. That DNA is broken down into the amino acid building blocks A, C, T, and G. Four amino acids written like four notes in a bass cleft staff, "what could be simpler?" With that evolution of man, evolved the art of storytelling; from simple stories of the hunt told around the fire to the written works of authors that we now read in books today. The pinnacle of the integrated story is the novel by Richard Powers titled The Gold Bug Variations. The story weaves the lives of the four main characters through time and through many different countries. The four main characters captivate the reader into their various stories and, even more amazingly, their psyches. The characters are: Jan O'Deigh (a reference librarian), Stuart Ressler (a geneticist in the 1950s), Keith (an advertising executive), and Franklin Todd (a reference librarian/ general renaissance man). The careful thought that Richard Powers put behind the characters makes them come alive on the page. The reader's experience mutates from a simple reading of a story into the feeling of these characters as they tie into each other's lives. Stuart Ressler is a scientist from the 1950s that travels to Indiana to "put an 'I' state on the map." His specialization is genetics and coding. This is continually show throughout the story by Richard Powers actually showing the reader Ressler's break troughs and his break downs. he shows this by showing his work away from the prose in vario... ... middle of paper ... ...ve your life again, by all means let us know. J. O'D., 6/23/83" On multiple accounts some of the questions are signed "FTODD" a clear link in the relationship between Franklin Todd and Jan. The story The Gold Bug Variations should be read for many reasons. The main reason being that it is a truly great story that captivates the reader. The reader should be willing to put forth the effort to understand, as much as humanly possible, the many variations of the story. The story is the current standard of storytelling. The integration of, science, art, and music into the story alone begs to be read over and over. The story is a romance, a history lesson, and an adventure all rolled up into one novel. If a reader can't find something of interest something is remarkably wrong. As in the final aria, the story should be read "one more time with feeling."

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