ENGL 102 Lesson 14

ENGL 102 Lesson 14 - Joseph Walter Clark 15 Mar. 2008...

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Joseph Walter Clark 15 Mar. 2008 English 102 Lesson 14 Neal Stephenson is a writer of science fiction. His novel, The Diamond Age, Or a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer , is set on a fictional Earth where mankind has mastered engineering at the atomic level. A technology is commissioned by Alexander Finkle- McGraw and created by John Hackworth, who’s granddaughter and daughter both get a copy of, and another accidentally goes to Nell. The purpose of this technology is to “find a way to make their lives interesting” (24). The fruition of their project is a computer advanced enough to process factors from user and their environment. It integrates this information into instructional stories designed to properly raise a child. In this way it teaches lessons and maintains their mental health and development. It is created to look like a book that provides feedback with pages capable of video. It also connects wirelessly to voice actors, who play a key role in the book by highlighting the human element of child rearing and its emotional weight. “Can machines think?” (Turing qt. on wikipedia.com) Stephenson’s explains the need for human experience through the development of three children, who have brilliance outweighing their maturity for most of the book. The central plot centers on Nell, an infant thete girl without tribal affiliation at the beginning of the book, and her relationship with her Primer. Before her brother, Harv, brings her the Primer she belongs to a very low economic class. She’s illiterate without 1
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prospects of schooling or anything but menial labor like her mother. Her path is entirely altered by the Primer. It educates her throughout her entire life, providing her with lessons incorporated into an overarching story and information from Encyclopædia (280), Atlas’, and technical manuals (259) . It is the Primer’s design to make each story specifically applicable to their reader. She is contrasted against her brother Harv, who dies only able to read pictograms and suffering terrible health issues (334). The book engages her in a wide curriculum which is at first primarily influenced
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This note was uploaded on 03/30/2008 for the course ENGL 102 taught by Professor Frost during the Spring '07 term at UNC.

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ENGL 102 Lesson 14 - Joseph Walter Clark 15 Mar. 2008...

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