Throughout Part 1 and Part 2 of The Bug, there has been a reoccurring theme that human emotions and actions are losing value. The essence of life, individuality, and feelings are evolving into robotic, machine-like processes. An instance that demonstrates this phenomenon is when Ullman describes the sexual encounter between Ms. Watson and James as “a question of hydraulics. Pipes and tubules and liquid secretions-automated, operating according to the laws of physics and fluid dynamics” (98-99). Intercourse is inherently a human act, unbounded by any laws or machine-like qualities. It is an expression of passion and love, but in this situation, it is described solely as a physical act void of any intangible connection between the participants.

This same message has been present for other characters including Ethan’s increasing detachment from the world around him. He is so caught up in his programming work that he becomes annoyed when he actually notices and has to acknowledge the fact that life is not always predictable or fixable like computer programs are. Ethan and Joanna also share the same sexual experience as James and Ms. Watson in which the sole purpose is physical enjoyment.

It seems that Ullman is suggesting that as humans coexist with the growing development and dependence on technology, we are losing qualities that give us the essence of life. In a way, we are becoming technology. Our accomplishments, crimes, addresses, grades, etc. are all documented and utilized through technology, so you can know everything about someone without ever even speaking with them. Also we are losing human relation skills as a result of the evolution in cellular devices (texting/communication). This seems to be the underlying message the Ullman is trying to convey; she is uncomfortable with the transition of humans to a robotic way of life.

This idea reminds me of the summer reading book Machine Man in which the main character continuously attempts to replace his own biological body parts with mechanical alternatives. He loses touch with his inner human; he literally becomes a piece of metal. ( An image of the Machine Man can be found at the following link:

machine man image

Also, as an interesting point, I found an uncanny resemblance between the way that Ms. Watson acts in terms of continuing her professional career(on page 91) to Ted’s attitude in the movie “Ted.”  (video of this interview can be found at: