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The story follows the life, if it could even be called that, a debatable topic covered in this book, about a robot is named Andrew Martin. Andrew was built in a factory, made to serve whatever human family decided to have him as a servant. His original serial number, NDR-113, was based on his model type. Appearance-wise, he looked much like any robot would. He had lights, knobs, and was even made out of shiny metal. However, his model was specifically made to resemble human beings as closely as possible. He had two legs, two arms, two eyes, and an oval head set upon a narrow neck. “The decision had been made, very early in the history of robotics, that the best way to overcome mankind’s deep-seated fear of intelligent machines was to make them as familiar in form as possible” (pg 112). The story starts with Andrew being sent to his new family, the Martins, who lived in a big house on the Californian Pacific Coast. The family consists of Gerald Martin, his wife Lucie, and their two daughters, Melissa, the older one, and Amanda, the younger one. It was Amanda, at first, who came up with the idea of calling him Andrew in the first place.
Throughout the story, Andrew’s journey seems to just want to live happily with his new family. However, it has become noticeable that Andrew is different than other robots. This is first seen when he is asked to carve Amanda a necklace charm out of wood. When he does so, Mr. Martin inspects it and comes to the conclusion that Andrew is capable of doing more than he was built for. After this, Andrew starts a new career as a woodcarver, making all sorts of things ranging from artwork to furniture. He continues to pursue his goal of happiness, but along the way, he learns about humans and their characteristics. Time goes on, and the Martins get divorced, and the two daughters move out of the house, leaving just Andrew and Mr. Martin. Throughout all those years of living with the Martin family, Andrew always felt like he belonged and was part of the family himself. This experience left him feeling like he wasn’t just a robot made to serve the Martins, but rather that he wasn’t a robot at all. It made him feel human. Andrew, however, knew he wasn’t human until he was something he’s always wanted, which was to be free. It was from here on in that Andrew started his new journey to become human. Initially, it was just a journey set out on becoming free. But to Andrew, being free meant to be human. So Andrew continued to work hard, and through all the adversity he faced, became important and was finally recognized, regardless of what anyone else said, as a human being. Throughout this journey, Andrew realizes that he did not need to be human, since he was already great for his accomplishments and contribution to society.
Regardless of this fact, however, Andrew still wants to maintain his original goal which was the pursuit of happiness. He has already come a long way from being NDR-113. He was now Andrew Martin, well-respected and acknowledged for his intrepid journey. He has changed a lot. Physically, he transformed from just being a “dull robot to a beautiful human being”, as he puts it. However the biggest transformation in Andrew is his sense of reality. In the beginning of the story, Andrew is isolated from the world, unaware of how people other than the Martins live. When he is exposed to humanity, he obtains certain attitudes and beliefs on humanity, and it is this which has led Andrew to develop into who he is at the end of the story.
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Novellas, The Bicentennial Man, United States Bicentennial, The Positronic Man, Andrew Wells, Robot series, Robot, Andrew the Apostle, Bicentennial Man
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