Last Updated on May 11, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 471
“Somebody Up There Likes Me” is told in the first person from the point of view of the main character, Dante Allegro Annunziata. Most of the action in the story revolves around Dante’s reception of and response to e-mail. The primary emphasis is given to the movement of text in Internet communication.
The story opens with Dante receiving four e-mails, the first from his distant wife, Snookie Lee Ludlow, and three from his boss, Mary Beth. He reads Snookie Lee’s message, then explains that his wife has left him to pursue a doctorate in women’s studies in San Antonio, Texas, 1,500 miles away. He relates his last e-mail to his wife and decides to put off opening the three e-mails from Mary Beth. Dante then describes how he met Snookie Lee at a poetry slam as a student and how they both moved to San Jose when he was offered a professorship at the College of the Mind. He recounts his difficulty with Mary Beth, who is out to get him, and his dislike of being separated from Snookie Lee.
A new e-mail from Dante’s friend Boyce P. Hoodington invites him to dinner, and he accepts. On Dante’s arrival, Boyce confides that his computer project has been downsized and that he has been terminated. While checking his e-mail, Dante receives a message from Snookie Lee, in which she reveals her nervousness about her upcoming oral exams. She also criticizes higher education as shallow and oppressive because it forces her to regurgitate theories in which she does not truly believe, and she refers to academics, including Dante, as apes.
Over dinner Boyce explains to Dante his new project to build a computer that reflects the knowledge of all the good humanity has achieved. However, first, he needs a new computer. After dinner, Boyce and Dante make their way to see Mickey, a computer quality tester and dealer from whom Boyce has arranged to purchase the finest, most innovative computer available, a Revelation 2000. Mickey shows them a Revelation 2000 and makes Dante try it out. When accessing his e-mail, Dante reads the messages from Mary Beth. The final message affirms that his contract will not be renewed. Both Boyce and Dante decide to buy Revelation 2000 computers, with which they will start their new venture together—building a complete simulation of the mind of humanity, as employees of the independent financier Brubaker, who operates outside the corporate and educational mainstream.
At a bank cash machine, Dante checks his e-mail again and finds a conciliatory e-mail from Snookie Lee. She has failed her oral exams by refusing to respond to the questions and is flying back to Dante that night. He withdraws three thousand dollars for the purchase of a Revelation 2000 and dashes off to buy it and eagerly meet his wife.
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