Throughout the first two parts of Odds Against Tomorrow, I can’t seem to get a true sense of who Mitchell Zukor really is. He seems to change the way that he acts from situation to situation. In some instances he acts irrationally (and appears to be going insane), while in others he makes clear-minded decisions. He also is easily scared at times, while heroic at others. So who is the real Mitchell Zukor?
At one point Mitchell is described as “completely disengaged, zombified” (125), but later he is completely engaged and is able to guide himself and Jane to safety despite her constant outbursts of fear and their run in with crazed Nybuster. In the midst of the flood chaos, Mitchell even hallucinates by thinking that he sees Elsa in his apartment when it is really just Jane (158). As a result of Mitchell’s inconsistent actions, it is hard to predict where the story will go from here and how Mitchell will react to the events to come.
I blame Mitchell’s bipolar thoughts and actions on Futureworld. At his old job at Fitzsimmons Sherman, he was only responsible for calculations and dealing with numbers. This job allowed him to moderate and cope with his natural tendency to think of worst-case scenarios. His employment at Futureworld has done quite the opposite; it has fueled his unhealthy tendency. He is encouraged to imagine the most catastrophic events possible, which has taken its toll on his mental processing. Futureworld “wasn’t just work. It was life and death” (125). Being forced to think of such tragedy on top of his inherent habit of doing so has tied Mitchell’s thought processes in a knot. However, this is actually Mitchell’s fault. It was his decision to go into a profession that deals with risk. He didn’t want to be just another “glorified accountant,” but this decision seems to have backfired.
I can compare Mitchell’s situation to someone with bipolar disorder depicted by the images below. You never know how Mitchell will act in a certain situations. It is as if he has multiple identities and each one is distinctly different. In other words, he has metaphorical masks that make it hard to recognize who the real Mitchell is when he alternates between them.