“Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” By Philip K. Dick is a tale of man vs. machine, even so there is a significance to the continuing theme of animals. In the first five chapters, animals are mentioned frequently. The questions arise, what is the symbolism of animals? Why is Rick Deckard fascinated with animals?
From the moment we are introduced to Deckard, his captivation with animals begins in the first chapter during a morning argument with his wife, Iran. Deckard says, “Instead of saving, so we could buy a real sheep, to replace that fake electric one upstairs. A mere electric animal, and me earning all that I’ve worked my way up to through the years.” (p.4). Now with this comment, the hypothesis made reflected of the novel’s title “Do Android Dream of Electric Sheep,” as one can assume Deckard is an unknowing Android living as a human, with human mannerisms. But then we learn it is normal in this world to have domesticated, wild animals. Which furthers Deckard’s wanting of an animal. As he meets with his neighbor, Barbour, then try to negotiate for Barbour’s as the text states “Ever thought of selling your house. Rick asked. He wished to God he had a horse, in fact any animal.” (p.9). At this moment, it can be alleged Deckard simply enjoy the company of animals, however the theme of animals continued to appear.
Approaching chapter 3, the reader learn androids are emotionally detached. As mentioned, “For Rick Deckard an escaped humanoid robot, which had killed its master, which had been equipped with an intelligence greater than that of many human beings, which had no regard for animals, which possessed no ability to feel empathic joy another life form’s success or grief at its defeat – that, for him, epitomized The Killers.” (p.32). Then it is realized the assumption of Deckard being an android is false, as Deckard show great passion for animals. While the first theory has been shot, another is made. In theory, being in a destroyed world where the elite have left the Earth and found refuge elsewhere, leaving many to fend for themselves. While the Earth is in ruins most animals died, making them endangered. Therefore, people domesticate wild animals to preserve not only the species, but also hope of restoring the world to its old oasis. In all, the symbolism of the animals is to maintain realism in a robotic world.