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There were many different themes displayed in this novel. In my opinion, the one that stood out the most was independence. Lauren, 15 years old, realized she was doomed in her community of broken laws and corrupt officials, and decided to take matters into her own hands and flee. Independence was the main factor to believing in the Earthseed religion; there was no one to turn to for help and you certainly couldn’t rely on God. What you would like to expect of your future is how you shape your present life. Lauren spent time learning how to survive outside the walls of her community; she learned how to use guns, medicine for emergencies, and most importantly how to live off the land. When they finally find land where they would start the Earthseed community, they grew crops to eat and sell since there were no other job opportunities. It became survival of the fittest.
The book was a good and quick read, but the ending was too abrupt and left me hanging.
Parables of the Sower was an interesting read with a disappointing conclusion. I would have preferred if Butler discussed the state of the government more in depth, presenting us with a back story as to why the federal government has for all intensive purposes – fallen apart. Butler fails to allude to Congress or the Courts, begging the question – does the President have complete discretion in the area of federal policy? No reasons were given to explain why state borders were closed and if governors were still in control over the states. The only local government mentioned is the police and fire department. Lauren’s decision to stay in California was disheartening because we never experience Oregon or Washington, or Canada. We never learn if these lands are the promise land so speculated about by Lauren and her friends. These unanswered questions only slightly detract from what is overall a very entertaining and vivid portrayal of the not so distant future. An interesting what if scenario; what if the government becomes so weak, it cannot maintain order? Butler wrote this book in the early 90’s, a time in which there was increased racial tension, economic turmoil and stagnation, and political distrust. This book incorporates these issues, which mirror our time, foreshadowing the outcome if these societal problems are not addressed and solved.
The Parable of the Sower was a very good read to me. The foreshadowed themes, as well as the plot was important to the underlying meaning of the story. The notion of nationwide poverty and dangers that developed during the future of the world was something that gets people thinking. There was a deep feeling of depression in the book, and the idea of a dog eat dog world was prevalent. There was also a theme of religion, and Earthseed. The comparison of Earthseed and other religions was important, it was shown in the beginning of every chapter. Earthseed symbolized the perception of the world that Lauren had, very different compared to other people. As she “recruited” other people into her religion, it meant that those people now perceive the world the way that Lauren does.
Lauren changes a lot during the story, and her perception of people do as well. In the beginning, she believed that all she needed was the three people she had started out with. As the story progresses, so does her image of other people. She had initially thought that all people are somehow against her, but by the end of the book, she had a whole group with her. Her perception of people changing is an analogy of Earthseed. As she progresses, she slowly changes Earthseed. Bankole had also mentioned before, that as the religion spreads, people will slowly change it.
The book leaves an open ending, much like a cliffhanger. Although the overall plot was very well written, I thought that the ending was not enough. Bankole’s land was destroyed, and his family is nowhere to be found. I was disappointed that the group decided to stay there, instead of trekking forward and attempting to reach the better north side, as they had initially intended to do.
There were many themes in Parable of the Sower, but one that stood out to me was a sense of freedom. Lauren and the members of the community lived in a walled neighborhood. The walls were there to protect them from the dangers of the outside world. They were told how impossible it is to live outside or go anywhere without weapons. The walls protect them, but also imprison them. There is no job for the young and the break ins by thieves were getting worse. Moving to privatize communities like Johanne’s family did to Olivar was the only other choice some members had left. But if they choose to go there, they will give up any sense of freedom. Olivar controls everything they do and give low wage jobs in exchange for protection. Eventually Johanne’s family will fall into debt and become debt slaves. This was also true for Emery and her daughter. They were debt slaves to their former employer. They could not leave until the debt was paid which seemed unlikely to ever happen and her two sons were taking away to pay for her debts. She ran away to give her a daughter a chance to live free even if it will be hard to find. Lauren always wanted to leave and have the freedom to choose for herself. I believe she admired Keith a little for leaving the community. He was able to survive in the world outside and make choices for himself for a while before he was killed. When her home was destroyed, she began northwards with a group of people. When they all come to Bankole’s land, they all choose to stay out of their own will after debating. I believe they found a form of freedom. They were going to start a new community, not a walled one, but a one were they can work together to survive. They would grow crops to sell and work for themselves and no one else.
Change seems to be a central theme of the book. Lauren describes it as being the main reasoning behind her Earthseed religion and because it is the one constant in life. She focuses Earthseed around the universe and her observations because she does not see any relevance between her experiences and the Christian God. According to Laruen, change is god. God shapes humans and god is shaped by humans. Lauren is clearly is changing as the story progresses. The wall repressed who she really was and as the wall came down so did the boundaries of which she had to be like in the walls. People can either accept change or work with it to help themselves and Laruen accepts this as her truth. She does not wait in vain for things to work themselves out and that things will go on the way the always have, she prepares herself for the change that no one wanted, the wall coming down.
Overall, I felt that parable of the Sower was a good book, however many things about the story bothered me.
To start, the first thing I was upset with was Laurens relationship with bank hole. It was genuinely disgusting because he was almost three times her age. It seems that Lauren developed feelings for him almost like he was her father, but since he was not, those feelings could go further. This could be seen that, in Laurens case she is filling a void that was left in her when she left her community. Bankole was both the father and lover she had lost. I also believe that when he offered her a place to live on her land was when Lauren decided not to go further north. She had everything she needed so why loose it.
Another disappointment to me was the lack of a description of government. It was hard to understand the world that butler was creating. I felt confused and agitated at the situation. If there was so much destruction, how were the governments not able to help? Moreover, was there even government? Despite the name of government, it seems to me that they could just be jobs for the rich. A job where they do not do anything but still get money.
Despite the flaws in the book I felt that parable of the sower was actually a good book. It may have been depressing, but in a way, it was just a harsh look on reality. Even though the book takes place in a made up time and setting, how are we to know that this doesn’t happen in other part of the world. What I enjoyed most was butler’s description and portrayal of her characters. Each of them was both critical and important in both making the novel interesting as well as entertaining.
The novel The Parable of the Sower is a science fiction story that portrays a very sad and depressing view of what the world may be like in the future. This world is filled with crime, hate, and death. It’s hard to imagine a world where people have to live in walled communities and dead bodies lying on the street is a normal thing to see every day. Lauren, the 15 year old girl who narrates this story, is living this life. She’s a strong, independent person who feels extreme empathy for other people. This feeling, called hyperempathy syndrome, is so strong to the point where the pain feels like her own. To me, it’s ironic that such a thing like hyperempathy syndrome would exist in a world filled with such pain and sadness. You would think that if you’re surrounded by pain all the time, every day, you would become used to and almost immune to it.
In this world churches and houses are burned down, the police charge a fee in order to investigate a crime, and everyday goods such as water are scarce and cost a lot of money to obtain. The right to vote, which many of our ancestors had to fight for, isn’t even exercised in this community. It’s scary to think of a place being so horrible that you need to carry weapons with you just to go to church. The world that Octavia Butler has created is a frightening world that although seems very different from the world we live in today, could really not be so far off from it after all.
As Parable of the Sower came to an end, I was quite shocked that Lauren and her group did not end up travelling more North. Throughout the entire book, Lauren describes how desperate she is to move away and make a better life for herself. At the end, I thought Lauren had given up hope for a better life because it seemed like the communities and things she experienced were just getting worse.
Lauren also seeks out to introduce her new religion, Earthseed, to many other people. Lauren forms her new system of belief as a result of the all the changes she has encountered in her life. Earthseed for Lauren is accepting that God is changed and accepting that the world has changed. From the moment, Lauren explained what Earthseed meant to her I drew the conclusion that maybe Earthseed is her way of accepting change.
With all that was happening throughout the book Butler made me question if America really is the land of opportunities. A strong character like Lauren struggled with money, getting a job and most importantly higher authority. For example, when Lauren and her friends call the cops, they decide to show up when they want after being paid a fee to do nothing. Another example is when Lauren meets the former slaves and finds out they were indebt there whole life because they couldn’t afford the rent. Therefore, the question that remains unanswered to myself is if America really is the land of opportunities.
In class this week, someone mentioned that they were not happy with the ending of Parable of the Sower. Many of us, including myself, expected Lauren and the community that was travelling with her to make it all the way to Washington or even Alaska just as she had been intending all along. Well, as it turns out they stopped in a nice little area in Northern California where there is open land and enough food supply already growing for them to be able to sell it to passerby’s. Unlike some, I was actually content with the way Butler chose to end Lauren’s story.
At one point in the middle of the book, Lauren makes a point to mention that she would love to settle down in the place where Earthseed was created and shared so it only seems fitting that they stay in Lauren’s native state. It wouldn’t make sense to travel so far up North without knowing if the place they’re attempting to locate is even in the same condition as it was made out to be on the radio. I must admit, however, that I was not too happy with the sudden relationship between Lauren and Bankole. He is old enough to be her father so wouldn’t that creep her out? Nevertheless, if it weren’t for Bankole, Lauren and the community would not have this massive amount of land to call home.
I was disappointed that from the point when Lauren leaves home to the end of the novel each event seemed to be a repeat of the event before and after a while it grew a little tiring. Honestly, I kept expecting Lauren to see her father travelling down the road or even Curtis. It would have been nice if at least someone who was close to her could have survived.
After reading The Parable Of The Sower, I’m still filled with a sense of hopelessness. While this book takes you on a journey, you cannot help but to feel like things are progressively getting worse (at least for our characters). Although they manage to stay together and agree to stay sedentary, attempting to make a living on Bankole’s land near Cape Mendocino, it leaves the reader wondering how long they’ll last before they end up as ashes. They’re settling in a place where there are no walls and where there is no immediate shelter. Their desire and ambition to make this place their home is inspiring and moving, but as realistic as this novel seems, agreeing to live in a dangerous place seems out of character for most of them. Maybe it’s just the fact that they’re tired of running or perhaps it’s that they want to believe they can live there peacefully. To be perfectly honest, I think it’s the ladder of the two possibilities. After all that they’ve gone through seeking refuge on a barren property with a town nearby and their own well seems like a pretty sweet deal. The possibility that something better lies ahead is no longer a worry to them, they can be at peace (for the time being) and try to live out the rest of their lives.
Settling down and not having to struggle along the Interstate is a much better option, but it feels like Lauren decided to give up on her dream of traveling to Oregon and/or Washington, which is always disheartening for the reader, especially when they want the main character to fulfill his/her dream. While I did enjoy this book, I can’t help but to feel as though the last chapters were a kind of copout or scapegoat. I guess that’s what Bankole’s land was for Lauren- a scapegoat. You diminish the risk of losing more people along the way, lower your chances of starvation and attack, and diminish the feeling of constantly being on edge. Personally, I didn’t like the ending of the book because it almost seemed that they would certainly die there, which they inevitably would. I think what I wanted to see happen was them make it all the way to Oregon or Washington and actually peruse what they initially set out to do. I would have also liked to have known what really happened to Lauren’s father. The fact that she begins this new relationship with Bankole (who is just like her father), is suggestive and a bit disturbing, but then again, everything in their world is extremely disturbing. I applaud them for making a static decision and settling down; however, I think it’s out of Lauren’s character to do that, but I suppose this experience has encouraged her to change and Change is God!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Although this was not a very pleasant book, it was extremely compelling and I was fully drawn into the story and plot. Octavia Butler did a great job of depicting the main character, Lauren. Whenever I read parts of when she was speaking to others, I could actually hear everything she was saying in her strong and feminine voice. I really liked how realistic it was made to be and how the United States in the book could become our United States in the future. However, I was mostly intrigued with Lauren’s disease, hyperempathy. Whenever she saw anybody in physical pain or pleasure, she would feel everything the person is feeling. Lauren also came up with her own religion in this book called Earthseed. It is a very logical way to view the world. She believes God is change and that people should help one another. The book was a brilliant apocalyptic story with all the fundamentals you would imagine from a book in this genre. While the plot begins a little slowly, it soon picks up and then does not slow down. Her small community is falling apart in a world that has already fallen apart. The heroine, Lauren, is forced to leave her weak community in Southern California to the terrifying and brutal world outside her walls. Many of the wanderers outside the wall are on a new drug that leads them to shave their heads, paint themselves, and start fires. I read of lots of suffering, fighting, guns and knives throughout this book. It is an incredible story of survival.
When I first started reading Parable of the Sower, I did not know what to expect. I normally do not find science fiction books interesting, but I really enjoyed reading this because I thought it was so strange to see what someone thought the world would be like in 2024. Octavia Butler’s view of the world in 2024 was something I was not expecting at all. I thought the world would have a lot more technological advances and economically booming, but in Parable of the Sower it was the total opposite. The police force only helped people if they got paid and were corrupt because when you did call them, no body ever knew what the outcome of the situation would be because the cops sometimes would turn the situation around and you would end up in handcuffs. This very well could have been due to the fact that when the book was written it was right after the L.A. Riots took place. The citizens views of the police force was very poor. Another thing I thought to be extremely strange was there was very little talk of the government in the book. The government plays such a big part of our everyday life today and in the book the only mention of the government was when the presidential elections occurred and most people did not even know if they were going to vote. It was almost like everything was backwards in the book. Instead of progressing, everything went backwards in history especially when there was talk of slavery. “In the early 1990’s while I was at college, I heard about cases of growers doing some of this-holding people against their wills and forcing them to work without pay. Latins in California, blacks and Latins in the south….Now and then, someone would go to jail for it”. It was almost like the government and the people just pushed slavery off like it was not a big deal. This idea seems extremely crazy to me. This book was the polar opposite of what I was expecting.
As I was reading “Parable of the Sower”, I was quite perturbed by the way that the government and the state officials were portrayed. Lauren’s world is torpedoing towards utter chaos and the government has barely looked the way of the west coast. It seemed to me as if the citizens of California were left completely on their own-alone in figuring out the next chapter of their life after economic and social upheaval. I was looking forward to my questions being answered throughout the duration of the book. Where was the president? Congress? Government officials? Someone to help during a time of crisis? It seems as if they were left totally alone. Only once or twice was the government mentioned. They were mentioned in reference to the presidential election, and also their part in the space missions. I was looking forward to an ending where the government might be overthrown, or better yet, help out the American people who so desperately needed their help. I felt as if my questions went unanswered. I was curious to know whether or not the west coast would ever receive the type of care they needed to move on with their lives. I was also interested to know what life was like in other states. Although they made mention of a better life up north, and the possibility of people traveling to Alaska, were the east coast and central states facing the same desperation? I may just have to read the sequel to find out!
As we are taken through Lauren’s journey in the Parable of Sower we see her grow from a young, unexperienced teenager, into a mature, confident, and strong adult. Lauren is always a girl who is fearful and aware of the bad that may come, but she focuses on the good happening in the present as well. She stays conscious of her surroundings and what she has around her at the moment as she always is thinking ahead of what is possible.
When her brother and father die, and then when her stepmother is killed by the Pyros she stays strong and does not give up. She is always on the go ready to do whatever she needs to in order to survive from the chaos that is going on in her town. Starting from when she met Zahra and Harry and formed a group with them we see her growing and becoming a leader. When more people are added to her group her personality comes out even more and we pick up on more things about her. We see her leadership skills all through the book. The group trusts her and feels she can make the right decisions on behalf of the rest of them. They accept who she trusts to join the group and some start listening and accepting her idea of g-d and her Earthseed ideas. She fights people off, saves a baby, fights against her hyperempathy for her group mates who she starts to care strongly about.
We pick up on how Lauren is a true leader with commitment and compassion towards people who she cares for. One example is when Bankole asks her to go away with him. Lauren turns that offer down and does not want to leave her ‘community’ who she cares for and who she has stuck with on this road so far. She has a bond with her group and is committed to them and would not leave them after going through so much together. So many of Lauren’s traits are visible to us nearing the end of the book. We can all learn from her and strive to act in ways she did. She never gave up on her group and never deserted them even when she had chances to. She trusted her group and they trusted her along this hard journey. Lauren showed signs of a true leader and we see that from when she starts forming the community. It is filled with compassion and trust for one another. This made me see that her form of religion could be a success since she had so many positive qualities that would have people trust her idea and believe in it. She grew into an independent and mature adult who held her community together while never giving up.
In Parable of the Sowers, the characters present in the story live in a world that is post-apocalyptic in a way. The group spends time walking along side highways and through the wilderness in search of some sort of help or something that is in anyway better than their old life inside their former walled burned down community. The world in which they are in is a failed society. The government always appears completely detached from civilians and it seems that they never are trying to help people like Lauren out. There is a loss of authority over people. The police are some of the most corrupted individuals in this world. They make almost no effort to help anyone out. They do not even seem to want to since they only want to get paid. Lauren’s group is not the only ones who are traveling like nomads. There are plenty of others doing the same thing as well. Considering the world they live in, Lauren’s policy originally is for her group to only care about themselves and to not bother with anyone else. A don’t trust policy is what she wants. But later on, she has a change of heart and sees that for the best chance of survival, her group needs to get much larger so they would have more eyes to watch for danger and to watch out for each other. As a result, a sense of trust is formed among them and together they go about their way to the edge of California.
We are in a rush. The modern human being is always on the run. The routine is set and as we get older the daily schedule gets tighter and tighter. Therefore it is hard to notice some basic questions, such as why are we here? Or what is the purpose of life? Obviously these questions are set for a broad discussion; however, if each one of us will define his own purpose for life, we will put content and a great meaning to it.
Octavia Butler tries to emphasize in her book Parable of the Sower the value for life or devaluation of it as part of relationship between materialism and spirit. Lauren and her family among other families in their community always dream on better future, better society or living in a different place. They urging for a different spiritually life, but unfortunately they can’t. These people can’t afford themselves to live in other areas out of economically reasons. Nevertheless, when the opportunity has arrived, and they had the option to move to Olivar in order to live better life and save their lives, they just didn’t do that. Money and food are prominent criteria with making changes in our life. We want to do something and change our spiritual life, but we can’t, simply because we don’t have the means for it, or in other words the materialistic means.
Lauren’s family decided to stay in their community and make more money, so they can live better, but what is better? Is money the answer for everything in life? What can we do with money but with no life? Could they save their lives by moving to Olivar? Probably they could. Moreover, they could live poor life, but to live it. Nevertheless, Butler tries to tell us that we should live spiritual life rather than materialistic one. We need to ask ourselves what really left at the end of the day. Is it money or life? Could they live together? And what do we prefer spirituality or materialism? And there are things that never change…
When I first started reading Parables of the Sower by Octavia Butler, I was intrigued at how the United States was said to have changed in 2024. Hearing about poverty and homeless wasn’t new to hear, living in New York City with homeless people everywhere. But to think of what they did to the walled communities was shocking. I understand that having a wall shows that they have something valuable like land and certain crops, but the walled communities weren’t rich to think that people would want to break in and take their things. At the same time, it seems reasonable for the people living outside of the walled communities who don’t have anything that is theirs, which make them steal to actually survive. I thought it was a great book, sure it was depressing but it showed how Lauren’s communities viewed outsiders as stealers, pyros, killers, etc. In the end Lauren ends up just like them in some aspects, killing when necessary and scavenging the people they have killed. By making Lauren and the group do this, I think Octavia Butler showed them that it isn’t right to do but sometimes you have to do what you have to do to survive in the end. If Lauren and the group didn’t kill when they were threatened they would have been killed and then robbed of their goods. I was let down with the end because I thought they would go more up north, not just Northern California. I wanted to see the journey to the north, and see if there was any difference in the area she lived in and passed to the north where they said everything was “better.” At the same time I was happy that they made it to Bankole’s land and made their little community and called it acorn. I think calling the land Acorn meant a lot because I remember when she got in trouble with her dad about scaring Joanne, he told her to get that book back because that’s where he learned the recipe to make her favorite acorn bread. By naming it Acorn it gives significance because before this time no one made acorn bread but wheat bread, it also gave it a connection with her relationship with her father whom she lost.
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