An ongoing theme in “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” is empathic manipulation. Characters such as, John Isidore show great empathy towards the Androids, and eventually Rick Deckard develop the same compassion for the Androids. More specifically, the manipulation of humans by the Androids protects their well-being in a mission of rebellion. While Isidore is manipulated by the ways of the Androids, Deckard is conflicted by the significance of android life. In all, the androids have a great ability of making humankind feel as if they are the real-life beings.
Considered a “Chickenhead,” John Isidore is a mild-mannered, timid man who feels compassion for Androids, at the same time idolize the words of Buster Friendly. Alone in an apartment building, Isidore is introduced to his first neighbor, Pris, who is suspected to be an android because of her uncanny resemblance of Rachael Rosen. Pris acted suspicious when Isidore shared his knowledge of the Rosen association the text returns, “A complicated expression instantly crossed her face fleetingly, gone at once.”(67). Pris continues, I never heard of them; I don’t know anything about it. More of your chickenhead imagination, I suppose. John Isidore and his personal private empathy box, Poor Mr. Isidore.”(67). Pris is clearly on the alert as if she is in hiding, hence Pris moved into the empty building with the shunned chickenhead, Isodore. Additionally, Pris has very little furniture and wanted to be left alone, despite Isidore’s relentless effort to be neighborly. Moreover, in terms of Isidore idolizing the words of Buster Friendly, Isidore is flabbergasted by Pris unknowing of his idol. Isidore says, she’s never heard of Buster Friendly. And that’s impossible, Buster is the most important human being alive, except of course Wilbur Mercer.” (69). Aside from Mercerism, Buster Friendly is seen as a deity, as he is the voice of world.
Rick Deckard started as a bounty hunter who deplored all Androids. However, in the progression of the novel Deckard’s views had drastically change. On somewhat of a “retiring” spree, Deckard encountered Luba Luft, an android disguised as an human opera singer. Luba Luft gives Deckard a hard time while he’s giving her the Voigt-Kampff test. While doing his series of question, Luba Luft countered each question with an inquiry of her own or dismissive answer, evidently throwing Deckard off his game. As this continued, Luba Luft switched the focus on Deckard being an android himself. The text supports, “Maybe there was once a human who looked like you, and somewhere along the line you killed him and took his place. And your superiors don’t know. She smiled. As if inviting him to agree.” (102). In order to extend this conviction, Luba Luft continues the questionnaire, later accusing Deckard to be sexually deviant. As a solution, Luba Luft called the authorities which Deckard was confidant they’ll side with him (being a cop and all). However, Luba Luft called the androids authorities, whom tried their best to twist Deckard’s life upside down by making him think he was an android. It wasn’t until he met Phil Resch, a fellow bounty hunter undercover in the Android police department. There Phil Resch rescued Deckard from the Android’s custody, in addition to killing Inspector Garland, who was also on Deckard’s Nexus-6 hit-list.
Both Deckard and Resch continued on to retire Luba Luft, however in a moment of clarity Rick no longer felt the need. Deckard wrestled Resch as he attempted to save Luba Luft from being retired.(134). Failing to do so Deckard found himself drowning in remorse. Deckard states, “I can’t follow your reasoning it isn’t rational, that’s why. I’m getting out of this business… They can use androids. Much better if andys do it. I can’t anymore, I’ve had enough. She was a wonderful singer. The planet could have used her. This is insane.”(136) At last, Deckard had finally felt the compassion his wife felt for the Androids, finally seeing them as a part of life rather than false people. Furthermore, Rick realized something about Resch, as he is seen colder than most. Deckard mentions, “I see a pattern. The way you killed Garland and then the way you killed Luba. You don’t kill the way I do, you don’t try to-Hell. I know what it is. You like to kill. All you need is pretext. If you had pretext you’d kill me.”(137). Deckard noticed the mercilessness in Resch as he doesn’t kill Androids in the name of justice, as he does, but as a means for the sake of killing what is seen wrong.
In the end, by noticing the hatred in Phil Resch, Deckard is able to see himself in another light. An inhumane, dark light which was seen by Iran from the start. Deckard doesn’t enjoy killing android, but is trapped in a world where hunting andys is his way of survival. And as for Isidore, his neglect from society forces him to embrace and preach the words of the andys as a mean of acceptance.