The Bicentennial Man
This is an extract from the famous short story by Isaac Asimov.
The idea of Progress
- In this extract from the novel « The Bicentennial Man » we can witness a great progress about Andrew the robot. He looks just like a humain being, talks like a human being and feels the same. Knowing it’s just a machine, we see a tremendous technological progress in the evolution of this machine.
- He is also capable of high level thinking since he is questioning himself about the essence of humanity and what makes him different for everybody.
- There is also another type of progress at stake here. Andrew is asking for humanity. He wants to cease being a robot and start an existence of human being. To his eyes, this would represent a giant progress in the way people would see him. It is similar to a slave asking for his freedom. It’s the need to be seen for who we really are. So, to a certain extent, Andrew is asking for social progress.
Space and exchange
- Throughout the extract, Andrew is questioning himself about the differences between robots and humans. He says there are things that will never change because the exchanges between these two populations are regulated and bound to a lot of prejudices.
- The only way to change these exchanges is to make something that would change the way people see him. Because Andrew is so attached to the way others consider him, he is willing to make great sacrifices. In other words, we might say that he can only become the one he is through the approval of those who deny his humanity.
Myths and Heroes
- Andrew is a hero because he is willing to sacrifice his life for the sake of his ideal.
- He represents the myth of the fountain of youth because he is immortal. He possesses a gift that all humans dream of but it’s because of this gift that is he denied his humanity.
- We might say that if he succeeds, he will be considered a hero by his fellow robots because he will be the first to open a new era for robots. To a certain extent, he may become a pioneer.
Places and forms of Power
- We can see different powers through the extract. First, the power of the mind. Andrew is capable of going to the highest political places to ask for what he thinks is right. His will and his determination are what make him powerful.
- Then, we are faced with political power. Only through a political decision can he be made human. So, only this power can change his situation.