At the end of He, She and It I feel like Marge Piercy had to have the Maharal unmake Joseph. I also feel that she had to have Yod destroy himself and Avram. In both cases the parting of the characters seems the most humane in the long run. The ending to Malkah’s golem story is quite sad, but I feel that it was the only resolution that truly fit into both narratives. The Maharal near his death worries about Joseph and the harm he could do. He ponders to himself what Joseph’s life expectancy could be, and he ends up thinking that it could be for hundreds of years possibly (395). I think that the Maharal did the most humane thing that he could think of at the time for Joseph. If Joseph had continued to listen past the Maharal’s direction, then Joseph would have suffered immensely. Had Joseph gone on living he would have ended up being rejected by Chava, and I think that he would not have followed the next Rabbi, but only her. If this idea is correct Joseph would have had to live the rest of his life heart broken. Besides heart break there are other issues that Joseph would have had to face, like why he was still alive and didn’t require sleep. Even though the death of Joseph was difficult to read I feel like it was the most humane thing.
For a similar reason, I feel like Yod and the cyborg project had to die. I feel like Yod also has the same idea, because as Avram assures him that there will be more cyborgs Yod says, “That remains to be seen”(411). This sentence suggests to me that Yod might have had this planned for a while. I think that Yod realizes what kind of situation he is in. He basically is too advanced for humanity, the council’s reaction to him seems to prove this. When he is announced as a cyborg the council starts to treat him as less than human. Yod cannot fit in or belong in a world where even the woman he seems to have fallen in love with cannot see him as more than just a machine. For these reasons, it seemed like Yod was destined for failure before he was created. Even Malkah admits that, “Yod was a mistake. You’re the right path, Nili” (412). Malkah goes on to explain the difference between Yod and Nili and it seems like the fact that Nili was born and is human through biology is what is important. Yod cannot be human it seems simply because he was not born. This idea that Yod is not human, but is just a machine reminds me of a Three Days Grace song, “I Am Machine.” I interpreted the song as a cyborg type being lamenting the fact it wishes it could feel everything a human does.
Marge Piercy, He, She, and It (New York: Ballantine Books, 1991)