In her absorbing novel Double Helix, Nancy Parker raises several questions that are extremely vital in present-day society. How will humankind behave if a panacea for all diseases is found? Who will deserve it and who is going to judge about it? The author makes the reader look through the eyes of the protagonist, Kate Lipton who attempts to discover the truth about the amazing scientific discovery; she acts as our guide during this quest. Yet, at the very beginning she is also unaware of her final destination. This character represents a typical educated person who tries to solve the mysteries and dilemmas of the modern world. Apart from that, it is quite possible to argue that Kate Lipton is an aggregate or collective character: to some extent, it takes its origins in classic detective stories especially those describing the adventures of a female sleuth.
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Kate Liptons moral fortitude
Nancy Parker wants to give the protagonist those qualities that would win the trust of the readers. In particular, we should emphasize Kate Liptons moral fortitude and her courage. She knows it perfectly well that in the course of her investigation she may face many powerful enemies who will stick at nothing to stop her. Even despite this fact she is resolute to uncover the activities of a large corporation. As the plot evolves, the head of this company, Anthony Beecher learns that she is involved in this business, he immediately decides to move the laboratory to Grenada, hoping that this measure will prevent her from unraveling this case but his expectations do not come true (Parker, p. 75). One of the most striking examples is her decision to break into the security system of Vikon Corporation in an effort to get to the core of the problem, and this may entail rather adverse consequences for her and her partner Jack Sullivan. In this way the author intends to prove that Kate is not the one to be daunted by perils.
Sense of Duty
We may as well mention her sense of duty towards those people who may depend upon her. At the outset of the novel she is enjoying her short vacation. The opening chapters portray her as a very cheerful woman, the individual who extremely loves nature and is able to appreciate its beauty (Parker, p. 27). But as journalist she wants to help her colleagues at the time of scrutiny. She and Jack have only a few days “to appreciate paradise” of the Caribbean but she insists that they should leave because someone else may need her help (Parker, p. 32). Such personal trait is very appealing and this makes us take sides with Kate and follow her up to the end.
Evolvement of the protagonist
Kate is not a static character and Nancy Parker intends to show us that she changes with time passing. It does not mean that she betrays her ethical principles. On the contrary, she remains determined to find out true intentions of Vikon Corporation and its leader Anthony Beecher. Yet, she becomes less naïve about other people. She realizes that for some rather unscrupulous individuals human life is practically of no value. She does not become cynical but she understands that the degree of moral corruption may be immense sometimes. As the story draws to its ending, she is convinced that under some circumstance search for knowledge may be very dangerous for mankind. This theme is traceable in the closing chapters of the novel.
Kate Lipton as the speaker of the authors opinion
Furthermore, we can discuss Kate Lipton as the speaker or representative of the writers ideas. Through her Nancy Parker expresses the opinion that humankind is not mature enough to receive such gift as universal remedy and the secret of longevity. Kate says that “our species lacks wisdom” to use it (Parker, p. 494).
This is why she is reluctant to tell the world about discovery of universal cure or elixir of life because this will cause catastrophic havoc in the society. Still, we have to insist that the Kate Lipton is not unique. Similar female detective has already been created, for instance by Agatha Christie. Nancy Parker is not entirely original; she modifies the prototype, Miss Marple, and puts this woman in a different environment.
Nonetheless, the main character of Double Helix is still interesting and attractive. She sets rather moral standards and gives us an example a person who adheres to ones credo and beliefs in spite of all difficulties; this is the reason why Nancy Parker conveys her ideas through the protagonist. Kate is not a static image, she is clever, courageous, she is able to reconsider her beliefs and take strong-willed decisions.
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Parker. N. “Double Helix: A Novel”. Ashland Hills Press, 2000.