Throughout _The Bug, _Ullman allows long periods of time to pass without any comments or any narration. I am curious as to why she does this. Is Ullman passing time in order to allow the reader to interpret the changes of characters and fill in the gap or is she simple bringing attention to the mundane life of a computer programmer? Perhaps, emphasizing what may have brought Ethan Levin to his suicide.
One cannot deny the importance of time in the novel, as it is the source of the bug – “To know that at the heart of the problem was the ancient mystery of time” (Page 348). The bug was caused partially from sampling of a computer mouse, a problem that emerges because computers run by snapshots while the real world is a continuous time frame. Did Ullman purposefully leave time gaps throughout the novel to make connections to the source of the bug?
A simple example of this would be noticing the Days written at the beginning of each section. The time frames written just in Part Four of the novel are 260-313, 316-339, 339, 340,341, 344-372, skipping certain days such as day 314 or 342. I began to notice these gaps while reading the novel and wondered what Ullman’s purpose of them were. Just as a computer program consists of gaps of time that may lead to failures/crashes, Ullman uses these gaps to emphasize character changes and raise questions by the reader. One interesting thing I noticed, was in between the last two sections of Part Four, Ethan Levin commits suicide. This could be compared to how the bug attacked in between snapshots of the computer mouse, causing the system to crash.
Ullman’s emphasis on time throughout the novel reminded me of society’s obsession with time. The solution of the bug also helps to confirm the difference throughout the novel of the computer programming world that Ethan Levin lived in and the real world that existed around him. Time is one mystery in life that science and research will never completely solve. It will never change, yet it can never be completely explained in both the past, present future, it just is.