Everything you need to understand or teach The Gold Bug Variations by Richard Powers.
The basic theme of The Gold Bug Variations is a question: What is the role of humankind in the universal scheme?
Ressler went as far as he could to answer this question through understanding the physical components of human existence.
He could not, however, move beyond the physical, and therein are found the seeds of his withdrawal from the world in which he had, as a twenty-five-year-old suggested the promise of an ability comparable to that of J. D. Watson and Francis Crick, who led the DNA research that resulted in the discovery of the double helix.
The novel's four main characters—Jan O'Deigh, Franklin Todd, Stuart Ressler, Jeanette Koss—have fallen short of the fulfillment usually linked with success.
The two women are unable to bear children, which even liberated society, however reluctantly, views as women's fundamental function. Both men have voluntarily stopped short of their...