William Gibson's 'Burning Chrome': Theme and Character Analysis
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This passage encapsulates the theme, tone, and characters from William Gibson's Burning Chrome. The "her" in question is, of course, Rikki, and the House of Blue Lights is Chrome's den of iniquity where simulated prostitution takes place. Rikki goes there, to the House of Blue Lights, towards the end of the story and immediately before she takes off for Hollywood. She needs money to buy her coveted Zeiss Ikon Eyes, the best on the market. Jack struggles knowing that Rikki did not need the Zeiss Ikons, and that she also did not need to acquire the money in the way she did. Rikki's low self-esteem precludes her from being satisfied.
Rikki's eyes are a powerful symbol in Burning Chrome. Jack frequently mentions Rikki's amber-coffee brown eyes because he truly loves her. Rikki's dissatisfaction with her natural eyes and desire for SimStim shows that she was blinded to the truth the entire time. Deceived into thinking that Bobby actually loved her, Rikki gave her heart to no one in the end.
In this passage near the end of the story, Jack "tried not to imagine her." The imagination of Rikki consumes Jack on more than one occasion. He describes Rikki as a "hologram" in one memory: "But now when I see her sometimes when I'm trying to sleep, I see her somewhere out on the edge of all this sprawl of cities and smoke, and it's like she's a Hologram." Rikki is equally as ephemeral for Bobby, perhaps even more so. "It was time for him to make his bundle and get out; so Rikki got set