A response to:
In this blog post, the reader makes the point that Ethan may be happier than is immediately concluded while reading The Bug. I offer another theme: that this novel is a spot-on exemplification of addiction. A key characteristic of addictive behavior is that the person becomes infatuated with the activity. Ethan obsesses over coding, as it dominates his thoughts from the moment he wakes up until he tries to go to sleep. Addicts will also compulsively engage in the activity, as Ethan demonstrates by spending more time coding on the computer than speaking to people, eating, or sleeping. The author explicitly references addiction when she describes Ethan’s “…daily, repetitive, compulsive- almost addictive- conversation with this electronic guide through the minefield of bugs,” (p. 136). Another characteristic of addiction is that the addict will engage in the behavior even if it is causing harm to personal relationships. The narrator says that Ethan once had a happy relationship with his girlfriend, but it now deteriorates more and more due to Ethan’s increasing obsession with his work. He hardly acknowledges or thinks of Joanna, and if Ethan’s thoughts were not busy obsessing over coding, he would probably be forced to focus on the fact that his girlfriend is cheating on him. Additionally, many addicts report a “blackout” for the time they were engaging in the activity, and don’t recall participating in it. Ethan loses track of time constantly while coding, and it sometimes seems like he sits down to work in the morning and looks up and it’s almost midnight. Depression is also associated with addiction, and I do not think Ethan is happy. I would also not call his coding a passion, as I consider it an addiction that started as a behavior necessary for his job. Coding is the compulsion that satisfies his obsessive, addictive thoughts, and Ethan does not claim that he loves his job or is passionate about debugging. Addiction and love are not synonymous.
See source for characteristics of addictive behavior here: http://www.indiana.edu/~engs/hints/addictiveb.html
See image source here: