Ronin and Kumiko

Lester D. Stone II, English 65, The Cyborg Self, Brown University (Fall 2006)

The reoccurrence of characters brings intrigue and depth to various narratives. Darth Vader, for instance, reappears several times in sequels to Star Wars. Gibson brings characters like Molly, Finn, and Bobby back to the story to update the reader and connect the previous events to the present. Sally mentions Case to bring the reader up to speed on what happened in Neuromancer. Her memory informs the reader about her point of view on the events that took place.

"Europe," Sally began, "When I split from Case I went all around there. Had a lot of money we got for the run, anyway it looked like a lot of them. Tessier-Ashpool's AI paid it out through a Swiss bank. It erased every trace we'd ever been up the well; I mean everything, like if you looked up the names we traveled under, on the JAL shuttle, they just weren't there. Case checked it all out when we were back in Tokyo, wormed his way into all kinds of data; it was like none of it ever happened. I didn't I didn't understand how it coul do that, AI or not, but nobody ever really understood what happened up there, when Case rode that Chinese icebreaker through their core ice. Did it try to get in touch, after? "Not that I know of. He had this idea that it was gone, sort of; not gone gone, but gone into everything, the whole matrix. Like it wasn't in cyberspace anymore, it just was. And if it didn't want you to see it, to know it was there, well, there was no way you'd ever be able to prove it to anybody else ev en if you did know. . . . And me, I didn't wanna know. I mean, whatever it was, it seemed done to me, finished. Armitage was dead, Rivera was dead, Ashpool was dead, the Rasta tug pilot who took us out there was back in Zion cluster and he'd probably written it all off as another ganja dream. . . . I left Case in Tokyo Hyatt never saw him again. . . ." [166-167]


1. Gibson mentions casting a woman in Japanese terms. Why does Gibson make and denounce the comparison of British culture to Japanese?

2. Later on, Gibson compares Sally to the ronin through Kumiko. Does ronin serve as a comparison kumiko makes about Sally, or does ronin serve as an age gap between characters?

3. In what way does Sally present her personal information to Kumiko and the Finn?

4. Does the past events in Neuromancer connect to Mona Lisa in relation to Sally's history?

5. Kumiko's comparison of Sally also makes a statement on her culture. The ronin were looked down upon. Does Sally represent a outcast of the Sprawl?


Gibson, William.Mona Lisa Overdrive. New York: Bantam Books, 1989.

Cyberspace OV Cyborg  Mona Lisa Overdrive

Last modified 1 October 2006