From ashes comes rebirth

Lauren’s father has disappeared. No one knows whats happened to him. Shortly after, the community was attacked. Lauren’s prediction of the communities inevitable fall came true. Almost , no one made it out alive. People were beaten, raped, and killed. Houses were burned to the ground. The day after, scavengers roomed the streets looking for any goods they can salvage.

Lauren went back to see if she can be reunited with Cory and her siblings. But alas, she finds out that as soon as they got separated her family was killed. She forms this small group with two survivors from the community. Zahrah and Harry. They decided to travel together north. They begin to realize theirs more than meets the eye when it comes to these three. Zahra use to live in the streets before being sold to her Husband. She has streets smart that come in handy. Lauren has quickly adapt and her survivor instincts have kicked in. She is willing to do any thing in order to stay alive. Harry and Zahra are taken aback a bit because they are use to seeing her as a preachers kid. Harry is still a reluctant to do steal or do anything to secure their survival. “out here , you adapt to your surroundings or you get killed”(182). Lauren is trying to get in to Harrys’ head that he need to change that way of thinking and get with the program if he wants to stay alive. The unlikely trio manages to work together. After an attack on the group Lauren informs the group about her disease. “I’m going to tell you abut myself”(191). The group is speechless at first, ask questions but ultimately accept her for who she is. Afterwords, she shares earthseed with them as well.

After being told to fear everyone beyond the walls Lauren, Harry, and Zahra realize people are just like them scared, non-violent unless provoked, and seeking a way to survive. Through acts of kindness and Lauren’s hyper-empathy her group begins to get bigger and bigger. They come across a racially mix couple with a baby (who are the first to join).Then an older man, who Lauren takes an interest in, and soon after two sisters the group rescues after an earthquake. They also, take in a child whose mom is killed one night. All of this while heading north. She shares her ideas about earthseed with them. Manages to convert most of them.

Usually in times of crisis peoples differences is what separates them. In a post-apocalyptic word, Lauren’s group; people from different backgrounds , ages, and gender come together in order to survive. Despite having differences they look after each other , take care of one another, and take turns keeping watch. Lauren now more than ever believes she has purpose. Just like her dad, she aims on unifying her group with earthseed and building a new and better community.

The Journey to The North

Because apparently Keith dying wasn’t enough, thieves and pyro addicts attack the neighborhood. After spending the night in a garage because why not, she gets her emergency pack as well as some clothing for her family in hopes that they are still alive. As she leaves the neighborhood, she finds the bodies of many people she knew, except for her own family. She then gets the bright idea to go back to the garage to once again spend the night and finds Zahra and Harry on the way. Lauren is then told that she no longer has a family and they then squat in the garage for the night. The next day Zahra tells her rape story and how she saw other people, including her own daughter, die in front of her. It is truly a very traumatic experience added onto another traumatic experience. Before the rape deed is complete however, Harry comes to the rescue and they escape together. Zahra doesn’t even say exactly that she is raped, but Lauren can see that it is heavily implied. It is obvious that she has not fully come to terms with what has happened to her. The ragtag team discuss plans on where to go and they all agree on North.  Lauren also decides to try a different gender and pretends to be a man because it is safer that way.

On their Canadian quest for maple syrup,  Harry fails to come to terms with reality. “‘But we don’t have to turn into animals, for godsake.’ (182)” He wants to hold onto his virtues that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Lauren however, disagrees. She agrees that they should help people in need, just not to openly trust them (unless of course her hyper empathy deems them otherwise). It isn’t a safe idea to be as open as Harry is, but it’s a respectable quality that I think he has. On the other hand, were Lauren not there to give him a slap on the wrist and tell him no, Harry would probably be dead.

On the topic of foolishness, apparently making sweet love instead of letting Harry keep watch is a wonderful idea. I assume it sounded great in theory, but in reality could have costed much more. In my opinion the situation is pretty comical because Lauren feels everything they do during their……dance. It gets better when Lauren subtly confronts Harry about it when starts knocking out. “‘Remember last night,’ I said. ‘If you care about her at all, if you want her to live, remember last night.’ (201)”  Harry doesn’t take kindly to Lauren’s snooping, even if he’s in the wrong, but backs down anyways. He most certainly still has a lot to learn.

The Journey to the North meets new companions in the form of the Douglas’, Bankole, and the two that escape a life of prostitution, Allie and Jill. It seems that as they go further  in their journey, they find more and more people coming from less than desirable situations.

Oregon Trails and Trust

Lauren prophecy for her community behind the wall has finally come to the past. It took over ten chapters for this cataclysm to eventually happen to this town with a slow build up with the constant attack/robbery from outside the that had me in suspense. Now Lauren has no family members left to support or care for; I feel that this raised her survival rate on the outside dramatically. The two things I notice from chapter fourteen going forward, this is a re-enactment of Oregon Trails in modern age and trust is a need for survival.

Oregon Trail was an old route that runs from the east of the United States to the west during the 17th century. I remember Oregon trails from a videos game that involved a family of 4 (Mother, Father, Daughter, and Son) traveling Oregon for a better life. During the family adventure, they can be robbed by bandits, injured, or killed. This reminded me of Lauren, Harry and Zahra adventure to Canada for a better life but the only difference it’s a dark version. “You’re strong and confident,” I said to him. “You think you can take care of yourself out here, and maybe you can. But think what a stab wound or a broken bone would mean out here: Disablement, slow death from infection or starvation, no medical care, nothing” (180). This statement by Zahra to Harry made me understand that there no second chances if they plan to survive this trip to Canada. Also, Harry seems to be the weak link in this adventure because he wants to be kind to strangers, but he was never sympathetic to the outsider when he traveled outside with a group from the community. This lead me to one of Lauren scripture she wrote in chapter eleven, “Any Change may bear seeds of benefit. Seek them out. Any Change may bear seeds of harm. Beware. God is infinitely malleable. God is Change” (116).

When Lauren, Harry, and Zahra started their adventure together they thought that they really knew each other because they came from the same community, but after their first confrontation during their first night camping, Lauren had to explain to them why she had to kill one of them and it effects it had on her hyper-empathy. All kinds of things. “And some of the ones who lived were dumb as dirt. Can’t think, can’t learn, just sit around nine, ten years old, peeing in their pants, rocking back and forth, and dripping spit down their chins. There’s a lot of them” (191).  It quick came to their realization that they’re all stranger to each other and they needed to air all their dirty laundry to trust each other with their lives.

On the Road, New Experiences and Allies

Reading Parable of the Sower, I see as Lauren is forced on the road, how well she puts her knowledge into good use as well as how fortunate she is as she makes allies well she picks up new knowledge in the outside world.  Already before her neighborhood burned down, Lauren had to be careful on who to trust.  It is mentioned multiple times in the book how her father has to teach her how to hide her hyperempathy, or how she described it in page 191, her sharing on one’s pain.  Also, previously, Keith faked being injured using red ink for blood to make Lauren bleed (page 11), so Lauren had to be careful to trust her own family.  So, as she traveled north to try to survive, comes across allies for whom she could trust, while at the same time, being careful on what information to share.

When she came across Harry and Zahra, they stuck together, as they are the remaining members for their community and former lives that they could find are alive.  Thanks to Lauren preparing herself for the possibility of if she needed to survive on her own, she manage to escape her burning home with supplies as well as money her family hidden away from thieves.  Because she “had risked stopping to grab jeans, a sweatshirt, and shoes as well as” her “emergency pack”(page 161) thanks to her “self-administered training”, she was able to make herself better off than if she had gotten herself to escape with nothing but the clothes off her back.  With Harry, Zahra, and Lauren, the trio was safe enough to travel without too much trouble as, done and proven many times previously in the book, there is strength in numbers.  As proven in the book, during one of their nights camping outside, the trio was attacked in the middle of the night by two men.  If Lauren had been alone, she would be no match.  However, thanks each person of the trio taking shifts staying awake for danger, Harry was able to fight off and kill one of the men while Lauren, in her own words, “took a small granite boulder from our fire pit, set my teeth, and brought it down with all my strength on the back of the intruder’s head” to save Harry.  Though Lauren is strong to take out a man like that, staying as a group to protect each other or alert one another to sticky situations helped them keep alive during their travels.

As Lauren traveled, she learned new things that she stored away as mental notes as well as share certain things with the group she traveled with.  For example, after saving a couple’s baby from a pack of dogs, Lauren learns that “prone was a good shooting position for” her (page 209).  This is useful as even though her hyperempathy may knock her down after shooting, harming, or killing someone, she will still be able to defend both herself and others.  Also, it means that she’ll be able to shoot someone even if she fallen.  She told her group about her hyperempathy, something she makes sure to keep to herself as much as possible.  While she was unsure about doing this, telling them helped in the long run as it helped the group to understand each other better.  It especially helped Lauren as Zahra, who lived on the streets before being brought in by her gated community before it burned down, told her “You ain’t got nothing wrong with you, Lauren-nothing worth worrying about.  That Paracetco shit was baby milk.”(page 193)  This is especially encouraging following up from her rambling about how much worse babies are born from crack-using mothers.  When describing the drug Lauren’s mother was using to baby milk, it made the drug sound less serious or significant, and thus, made Lauren’s situation sound less strange, less horrible, and less shameful.  It made Lauren feel normal as well as feel more comforted by Zahra.

Unexpected Behaviour.

 

In her proceeded yet unnoticed notices to get ready for catastrophe and secure the group, Lauren resembles Cassandra, the old Greek prophetess who prognosticated the obliteration of Troy, however was disregarded. She was honored by the divine beings to have the capacity to see the future really, yet reviled to have nobody trust her expectations. Like Lauren, she was compelled to watch the decimation of her city.

Lauren’s neighborhood are slaughtered. Incomprehensibly, it was the divider that welcomed these assaults, despite the fact that it was planned to keep them out. Lauren likewise discovers that it is not those are have brought about the most enormous social disparities that are rebuffed, but instead the individuals who are basically the most open.

These chapters demonstrate the last separation of the old community and the principal seeds of the new one that will amass around Lauren. The assignment of building another group is a troublesome one, in light of the fact that Lauren and her companions are pulled in inverse headings. With a specific end goal to survive, they should be savage; they should be set up to overlook a portion of the tenets of cultivated conduct that they were raised to watch. Lauren comprehends this superior to Harry. It is she who demands that they should have a similar outlook as a pack of creatures to guarantee their security. In any case, in the meantime they should likewise regard and see each other. Whenever Lauren and Zahra create shared comprehension, and when Lauren peruses to her and Harry about Earthseed, it is the main little stride to modifying a group out of the slag of the old one. It is likewise a major stride for Lauren, on the grounds that surprisingly she obtains a few supporters. Since she has been put under a magnifying glass, her characteristics of authority are developing firmly. She may not completely acknowledge it yet, but rather she is basically establishing another religion

Lauren never expect to be a savage. Thinking all the situation antryi g to survive in a world were chaos and fear is in every corner of the street. She knows amd she mist act like the rest of the world without losing her personality that helped gatbered people in order to survive. Nothing can be done except change their mentallity every ti.e that they face a difficult situations such as killing or be kill. The smartest people can survive in a world were death and robbery are top priority for many people because they are under drugs or just because that’s the o ly option they have in order to survive. Just like lauren did back in chapter 13  she has yo kill in orser to ecape from the people who uses pyro the drug tjat makes people burn everything.

Weakness and Strength of Lauren’s Hyperempathy

In “Parable of the Sower,” Lauren’s hyperempathy play a big role and ultimately determine some of her descisions. In a world of pain and suffering, Lauren’s hyperempathy is a weakness and Lauren herself agrees on it. From the reader’s point of view Lauren’s hyperempathy can be seen as a strength, which make her realize the cruelty of the world and prepares her. Hyperempathy for Lauren help her understand people pain, that can be in a good or bad way depending on many factors such as situation, internal or external pain. Hyperempathy is helpful and useless for Lauren, it help her survive but can also be the cause of her death.

As Lauren travel along with Harry and Zahra, her hyperempathy can be see a as strength. In a way Lauren hyperempathy help her out in situations that would hurt others. When Harry asked about his relative after the raid Lauren responded with “I didn’t see your parents”(170). Leaving the question open for Harry to interpret it. If Lauren told the truth she would have felt the overwhelming emotion and render Harry a liability to the group. Through hyperempathy Lauren is able to learn new skills that would help her. When Lauren was attacked by a dog, she shot the dog and “The dog drop without a sound. I dropped”(209). Lauren in a prone position was able to shoot better and scared away the dog. The hyperempathy benefitted Lauren so that she could survive in the harsh world. Every step Lauren take (metaphorically), she has to consider the emotion of other.

Lauren hyperempathy is consider a weakness in the world that she lives in. Even though Lauren can understand others through her hyperempathy is useless and holds her back. When Harry was being attack, Lauren throws a rock and “brought it down with all my strength on the back of the intruder’s head. And I brought myself down”(188). Hyperempathy make Lauren vulnerable when she injure someone. After Lauren  injured the attacker she made herself useless to the group at the moment. Lauren even see that her hyperempathy is a weakness. When Harry said “what if I broke my arm?”, Lauren responded with “then I might not be much good to you”(193). Lauren knows that her hyperempathy limits her ability to function and help other in tough situation. Even Lauren’s hyperempathy is seen as a weakness to Harry and the group. The group understand if one of them is in serious pain Lauren will go down with them and the group can easily be picked apart that is why they allied with the Douglas.

in a world of pain and suffering, Lauren’s hyperempathy can either destroy or help her. Hyperepathy for Lauren is seen as a weakness, but from a larger perspective it can be seen as a strength rather than weakness. Lauren can either understand others through the pain or emotion she feel from other or she can suffer the pain of others. In the end Lauren had gotten very far because of her hyperempathy keeping her in check, making her realize the pain of what the world is and she must prepare for the pain.

Reading Response#10: Parable of the Sower(chapter 14-23)

As the science fiction text Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler continues on, the story shows how Lauren and some others began to truly interact with the world outside of what they were accustomed to before the events that lead them to survive and journey outside in the neighborhood. As Lauren progresses as an outsider now she starts to feel more and the actions she commits has an effect on her empathy as well. She assembles and gathers people who want to live and are good as well to be apart of her group and that is where she starts teaching and introducing to them the fundamentals of her belief system called Earthseed.

As Lauren and her family is resting peacefully one night, an invasion happens that was caused by the people from outside of the walls. They ended up burning down houses and killing the people for their goods. As Lauren gets attacked by one of the people, she actually ends up killing the attacker despite the hyperempathy she possesses. According to the book it says: “I shot him again, terrified that his pain would immobilize me when he did feel it. It seemed that he took a long time to die.”(154). In this situation that Lauren encounters an enemy her hyperempathy is put to the test because she was in a life or death situation. Even though she felt a lot of pain from killing the man that tried to kill her, she realizes that despite the fact of feeling for others her own survival is more essential because she is the type of person living in a bad world who has compassion.

Lauren’s beliefs and views that she calls Earthseed was a concept that was created and thought up by her because of the experiences she has been through and observed. Also she based it from her own understanding and as she tries to convince her group of people to embrace themselves in it, they became a community in which despite being different genders or races they still found sanctuary within one another. According to the book it says: “Embrace Diversity Or be destroyed”(196). This was one of the saying from the teachings of Earthseed and in this saying it emphasizes that if people learn to accept one another despite the differences they can live in harmony and also they can be able to fight well against what can threaten them as well. In the community they embrace concepts like this because that was what made them survive as a group and also learn to respect one another and be able to be different in a world where it is filled with a harsh reality surrounding them.

As Lauren and her group continues to progress in their travels they observe various disturbing events that they find to be horrific and think that why would the world be in a state like that. According to the book it says: “You keep up a steady pace, keep your eyes open, and try to look both too intimidating to bother and invisible.”(272). This quote is describing that in order to travel through cities, you would have to do it in a certain way so you can be safe and avoid dangerous situations. This symbolizes that in the world there is hardly anywhere that is safe and those places that are actually safer, people would still have to be careful and go easy when trying to survive.

 

I have a story about that.

What does it mean to have individual strength over people who stand beside you? If being in a herd of sheep is considered weak than why do wolves hunt in packs? Parable of the Sower is a story that revolves around a group dynamic instead of focusing on a single character. The group that has been dubbed the Earthseed community is filled with a number of people from different backgrounds and statuses. Both educated and uneducated side with them. Different people have different opinions about the Earthseed religion. But that is what makes this story so interesting. You can only understand a character so much until you have their entire life’s story memorized and than there’s nothing left to explore about them. Then there’s how they interact with other people. How do characters interact with other characters? That is something that is incredibly interesting.

As much as I would hate to make this comparison, I’m doing it because this is a discussion. The cast of characters look like a party in a role playing game. They get into plenty of fights, random encounters and loot everything. But it also has the same party dynamic that a lot of story driven role playing games have. People will tell each other jokes, argue, become friends and perhaps become lovers. This is one of the most interesting aspects of story driven role playing games. One of the primary selling points of Japanese role playing games is the story content and the way the game’s unique characters interact with each other. There are innumerable examples of these kinds of group dynamics, foreign or otherwise. And these kinds of interactions makes it much harder to see a character die.

Once you have built a connection or kinship with a character you tend to respect and value them. Than when for some reason that character dies you lose your mind. If you don’t do that then don’t judge me. Once I learned about a character’s story I either hate them or love them. When I hate them than I feel great. I feel like something great has happened. When a character I love dies I lose my mind. A game series called Fire Emblem has a game feature where a unique and interesting character who has fallen in battle stay dead. It’s recent titles have had a casual mode so that this no longer happens. When I played the games before this feature was implemented I was devastated. And it wasn’t because that character had a steel great lance on their person when they died, but a character who I have used to carve my way to victory just suddenly died. All those battles and close calls were because they were so helpful to me and my journey through the game. Now the later chapters of Parable of the Sower has killed some of it’s characters as well. Although I did not have a similar attachment to these characters as I did playing Fire Emblem, I felt that a story has ended. In my eyes, each character is a book. They told their story and that is the book’s history. As they joined Laura and her group of survivors I witnessed their story being written. And when they died their story ended. Unique characters and the interactions between them are something that I enjoy. And it is a great revelation when you witness their accomplishments and a burden to see them fall.

A blessing or a curse?

Laurens character is very different,diffrent for all our other novels never read and up to this point in Parable of the Sower , different from everyone we’ve been introduced too. She has this ability, its not super natural but its not natural either, its very mystical. having the ability to feel what others feel on a physical level, in the time that she lives in is like a crutch. A crutch has the ability to aid you, but it can definetly slows you down. that kind of describes Lauren, her ability can allow her to see the better parts of people but in times of deadly conflict, 9 out of 10 times, she’s balled up uselessly in pain.

Lauren now lives in a kill or be killed world, but she fears killing anything because she gets the feeling of death herself. This is the first of her many challenges. In the chapter four of the book, Lauren over comes her fears and shoots a dog that tried to attack the group, taking it out of its misery. As  stated before, her ability its like a crutch, it can be an aid or a weakness. Here her hyper-empathy allows her to the feel the suffering of the dog, leading to empathy. This empathy causes her to over come her fears, and willingly experence death.”I had felt it die, and yet i had not died.i had felt its pain as though it were a human being.i had felt its life flare and go out, and i was still alive.”(46). At this point lauren is beginning to realize how strong she is , realizing her ability wont lead to death. This first experience of death gives her what she needs to develop as a character who is willing to protect herself and her people at all cost.

growing up to a priest lauren has lived much of her life learning about the bible, she constantly thinks of the  terrible suffering that goes on in her world, leading her to think of the   book of Job, the portion of the Bible that deals with the terrible suffering of a man named Job. “In the book of Job, God says he made everything and he knows everything so no one has any right to question what he does with any of it. Okay. That works. That Old Testament God doesn’t violate the way things are now. But that God sounds a lot like Zeus – a super-powerful man, playing with his toys the way my youngest brothers play with toy soldiers. If they’re yours, you make the rules. Who cares what the toys think. Wipe out a toy’s family, then give it a brand new family.”(16). Lauren unlike Job is against allowing suffering to go on, she wants to change the world she lives in, making it a better place.

She writes in a diary, opening her mind to the harsh realities of life. And in the process of writing her day to day life experiences, she comes to realize she is creating something more, but she isn’t quite sure what it is.”But this thing ,This idea? Philosophy? New religion?, won’t let me alone, won’t let me forget it, won’t let me go. Maybe…. Maybe it’s like my sharing: One more weirdness; one more crazy, deep-rooted delusion that I’m stuck with. I am stuck with it. And in time, I’ll have to do something about it. In spite of what my father will say or do to me, in spite of the poisonous rottenness outside the way where I might be exiled, I’ll have to do something about it. That reality scares me to death.”(26). She acknowledges the new ” religion” she’s starting will be opposed greatly by her father, yet she continues. Her ambitions surrounding her new philosophy go beyond keeping them personal, it is no longer enough, she wants to share it. Which could lead to something great for the good people still lest in the world.

 

Conflicts, Hyperempathy, and Character Attacehment

Finally, a book that I can’t stop reading in this class. The Parable of the Sower has endless conflicts which include Lauren and her family, the families within the cul-de-sac, the outside environment beyond the cul-de-sac and list goes on. There also so many characters in the story that I can barely remember all their names and the sad part is, the minute you start to get attach to one of the characters it’s a huge possibility they will be killed off in the following chapters. The one thing I notice from Octavia Butler writing style, she gave Lauren Hyper Empathy condition and was able to connect the reader empathy for particular character with just a few paragraphs before painfully taken them away from you. I believe she wanted the reader to feel Lauren pain.

One of the different issues that I found interesting is when Keith decided to adventure beyond the cul-de-sac wall for the second time, and Reverend Olamina (Lauren Dad) was looking all over the world for him, but Cory believes he was not trying hard enough for her. “Dad tried to go to her, but she backed away, still shouting: “If it were your precious Lauren out there alone, you would have found her by now! You don’t care about Keith.” (96). I knew Cory showed a lot a favoritism to Keith but never expected it to be this bad to express this much anger. In this seen I believe Cory real feeling for Lauren was revealed to the family which started the instability within the household.

The amount of character to remember is painful, but Amy Dunn grew on me pretty quick after she almost burns down her family garage. She was the little sister Lauren never had, and daughter Tracy Dunn never wanted. As small as the community it was a young child was slipping through the cracks because of her mother and family members but Lauren saved her life for a brief moment. “I saw Tracy take Amy into the house and shut the door. Yet somehow Amy wound up outside again, wound up near the front gate, just opposite the Garfield/Balter/Dory house. Jay Garfield found her there when he came out to investigate what he thought was another bundle that someone had thrown over the gate. People toss us things sometimes– gifts of envy and hate: A maggoty, dead animal, a bag of shit, even an occasional severed human limb or a dead child.” (49). This is where this book got real for me. This happens a few time a year in reality and like the fact that Octavia Butler tries to make this close to real life as possible.