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‚Äôt violate the way things are now. But that God sounds a lot like Zeus ‚Äď a super-powerful man, playing with his toys the way my youngest brothers play with toy soldiers. If they‚Äôre yours, you make the rules. Who cares what the toys think. Wipe out a toy‚Äôs 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. ‚ÄúI 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.

Religious Value (Earthseed)

Religion is shown to have a big affect in Parable of the Sower. Earthseed, the religion is practiced by Reverend the community’s preacher and also by the community. Religion show to have an impact in Lauren’s life and the diary she is writing. From Lauren point of view she preceive what the religion Earthseed mean to her.

Lauren’s father Reverend Olamina sees that religion is a big part of his life and his family life, it keeps the community together. Reverend being a preacher and also act like the leader of the community feel that is his duty to establish a code within the community. That code is religion, people that share a common belief are less likely to attack each other and help each other out, which also separate them from the savages. Reverend even “insisted on fresh, clean, potable water for the baptism”(13). Water is expensive, but Reverend value religion over the welfare of his family and community. Reverend know the importantance of the religion, it is a thing from the past that was past along to him.

On the other hand Lauren define her own religion through his father’s religious belief. Being the daughter of a preacher, Lauren also hold religious values similar to her father. Lauren own religion differ from her father, but is subjected to her father religious belief to avoid any conflict. Lauren states that in her dairy saying, “I let my father baptize me in all three names of that God who isn’t mine anymore”(7). Lauren does not hold similar religious value as her father does. The reader can assume that it because of her hyperemphaty that changes her. Lauren seem to think that “God Is Change”, which is mention through out the book in her poems (3). In a way Lauren want god to change the world, because of her hyperemphaty she feel the pain of world around her including her own. Through out each poems in the book Lauren is defining her own religious belief and what she sees god as. Lauren’s father may influenced her in a way, her father even told her to hide the pain away from other.

In the gated community in which Lauren live in most of the people share the same religious value. People dislike other in the community who don’t share the same religious belief. Lauren describe Mrs. Sim saying, “She didn’t like the Hsu family because they were Chinese and Hispanic, and the older Chinese generation is still Buddhist”(22). In the community people value their own religion and those who believe in them and those with different belief are outcasted by some. Overall the community value religion a lot and would take risk to practice their belief.

The religion Earthseed are mainly from Lauren point of view maybe in the of other the religion value can very well be different. It is interesting to see how Lauren’s own religious value and belief develop through out the novel. Also how Lauren’s hyper empathy changes her and the diary she is trying to write.

Reading Response#9: Parable of the Sower

In the book “Parable of the Sower” by Octavia Butler, it revolves around the main character named Lauren who has a type of empathy for others. In the story the community is separated and the people living outside the walls are under harsh conditions. Like for example there are dead bodies around the streets and water costs a lot of money, even more than gasoline. The setting of the story¬†takes place in California.

Throughout this book, in the beginning it had themes that tied to religious beliefs that dealt with believing in God and the different meanings of what God is according to people. According to the book it says: “Some say God is a spirit, a force, an ultimate reality. Ask seven people what all of that means and you’ll get seven different answers.”(Butler,15). In this quote it is saying that the people have different perceptions of what God could be and a reason for that can probably be because of the fact that the setting takes place in a time where the groups of people are separated and they live differently as well. Like in the city there is the area where the streets are filled with corpse around and other violent or¬†disturbing images and then the gated area where the main character leaves from to get baptized and because of this it shows that¬†the situations that is happening in¬†California would mean that the people would view religion differently and also have different meanings of what God can be to them because of the events surrounding them as well.

The main character Lauren possess a hyper empathy in which she can feel the pain of others. When she observes others are hurt or bleeding, she would experience pain similar to that and that is what makes her feel the pain of others. Even though she possess an ability like that she does have a lot of dislike for the neighborhood because of all of the bad things that go on in it and the violence that takes place. She also wants to create her own set of beliefs and be able to spread that knowledge to people to create a better life.¬†According to the book it says: “The particular God-is-Change belief system that seems right to me will be called Earthseed.”(77). In this quote it describes how Lauren wants to name the religion she decides to try to establish one day Earthseed because she feels that would be appropriate for her as it matches with her beliefs and understandings. It shows that she has found her own meaning of what God is to her and it also shows that she believes in something that would apply and match with the empathy she feels for others and would be a good thing as well.

One other theme that can be part of the story could be hopelessness because even though the main character feels that she can find a way, the circumstances so far in the story looks to be that way because of all the tragic events that take place. According to the book it says: “Doesn’t it even bother you that you took someone’s life-you killed a man?” (110). In this quote it is a conversation between Lauren and Keith in which they discuss how Keith is living life outside the walls. This situation shows that there is hopelessness because Keith have in to his own selfish desires and became the thing that Lauren dislikes which was to be like the evil people from the neighborhoods outside the walls. When Keith had killed that kind man who was going to Alaska, it shows that there was no kindness for others despite the fact that he was friendly to him and actually talked but since he had money it also shows that the people survive best by taking from others regardless of what type of interactions they have.

This book is interesting so far because there are various themes and the way the story goes and how the characters develops is also quite interesting to look at as well.

Life needs things to live.

An internet show that airs on a¬†weekly basis had an object that once said “There is no feeling more terrifying than hunger, and I hunger forever.” The¬†first half of that quote is accurate for all living organisms, and some non-living organisms depending on how you define an object that needs to eat. The same show also said “Life needs things to live.” These two quotes are facts of life that cannot be avoided. So when there are living organisms that severely lack nourishment they have the tendency to act violently. Also if you’re curious about which show this is, it’s called Critical Role¬†on Geek and Sundry

Parable of the Sower is a story about a girl named Laura who lives in a good neighborhood, surrounded by bad neighborhoods. Taking place in 2024 and seeing California in the state that it is in, the reader can assume that the society of the world has devolved and been morphed into something terrible. What we consider to be government services are services you are charged for. To be fair there is no indication that taxes are paid regardless of the effect of such services. And there is a clear separation of societal classes. A clean and healthy neighborhood is surrounded by what is essentially a shanty town with poor and desperate people at every turn. While the story follows Laura, who lives in a good neighborhood, there are desperate people just out of sight. In chapter 4 page 50 Laura writes in her diary, “We hear so much gunfire, day and night, single shots and odd bursts of automatic weapons fire, even occasional blasts from heavy artillery of explosions from grenades or bigger bombs.” The land beyond the gates does not seem to be a happy one according to this diary entry. Then in chapter 6, Laura writes about the break in. After a break-in of these at one of Laura’s neighbors, her father organizes a patrol to safeguard the neighborhood. Two weeks after the initial break-in, there was a confrontation between the trespassers and the patrol. Cory, Lauren’s step-mother, ask her husband “What do we do if they shoot you over some damn rabbits?” In response Laura’s father says “Live!” Laura lives in a community that values it’s humanity and protecting the peace they hold dear. Beyond is a world that wants to find food, like rabbits. While the neighborhood wants to protect human interests, the outside world is only interested in eating. They resort to stealing from others and, from the sounds of it, kill with automatic and perhaps military grade weapons. This feral enemy that the community fears has been driven into a desperate corner where they are willing to go to such extremes to get what they want.

The Inevitable Fall

“I had my recurring dream last night…I dreamed a reminder that it’s all a lie”(1).The Novel Parable of the Sower takes place in a dystopian world. The year 2024, environmental decay and the breakdown of the economy have destroyed the American society. Diseases like measles is rampant. The only safety is found in walled communities like the one Lauren lives in. Lauren is 15 year old African american girl who suffers from a disease called hyper-empathy syndrome:which causes her to feel the pain of others as if it was her own. This was due to her mom abusing drugs while pregnant with her.

Lauren is the daughter of a minister. Though her family is religious she does not share their beliefs. “At least three years ago, My fathers god stop being my god”(7). Her God is different from her parents. Lauren writes down some of her thoughts about God, after learning of one of her neighbors Mrs. Sims (a cranky and religious lady) who committed suicide. She believes “God exists to be shaped, god is change”(25). God to her believe is the shaper of humans and humans shape God, with this Lauren begins to form her own religion which she later calls Earthseed.

The adults in the community including her parents believe that things will go back to how they once were. They believe things will eventually revert back to the good old days. But She on the other hand does not believe this. People are in denial and rather cling to the past, than face the truth. She knows things are going to get worse. The break ins are only increasing. Lauren confides in her friend Joanne that she wants to start making a backup plan to protect herself and her family if the walls fall. She wants to prepare emergency pack backs. She urges her to learn how to survive in the wilderness and loans her a book. Joanne in denial tells her mom who tells Lauren’s dad that she is thinking on running away. Although, Lauren explains to her dad what she was actually trying to do, how everyone needs to be prepared in case of a major break in her dad tells her she is just causing a panic.

Times are changing and Lauren intends to adapt in order to secure her survival. She does not want to remain in her gated community getting marry, bearing children in an already crowded community with no job availability to be able to support herself. Theirs no future here. Communities with bigger walls and better security have fallen. Its only a matter of time before they do. The walls will not be able to keep all the addicts, criminals, and homeless away for too long. Just like they keep them away they also attract them. She knows that this false sense of security is all a lie.

Soul Searching after the Apocalypse

Reading Parable of the Sower, it seems like the writer is a spiritual person looking or finding her own God. ¬†With the start of each new chapter, there are a couple of sentences describing God in one way or another. ¬†At page 24 and 25, it reveals that these excerpts seems to be by the writer trying to describe how they believe God is truly like. ¬†She says that “God is Change”, and then goes on to explain what this excerpt means(page 25). ¬†Based on this, she seems to be trying to find how God might be like that would fit for her setting and situation. ¬†The writer, despite being a daughter of a priest, does not believe, or at least fully believe, that the God she believe in and the God her father believes in are not the same God. ¬†Though, this is most likely because of ¬†the setting and state of life she currently lives in.

The setting in the world seems to take place in a ruined¬†world where a disaster has struck. ¬†Evidence of this ranges from buildings such as houses and churches having walls to protect the people inside from thieves, gangs, or¬†rapist, or just protecting the building itself from being set on fire and destroyed. ¬†The writer even describes her home, 20 miles from Los Angeles, as a place with “maggots”(page 9). ¬†Also,¬†as she, her family, and a few other children and adults go outside their walls protecting their homes to go to church, they “go out in a bunch, and go armed.”(page 8) ¬†The need to do something like this in order to leave their protective walls in the first place tells that the setting of this book is dangerous to the point needing to hold a gun or weapon of some sort just to leave your house. ¬†Even then, it’s not much safer to stay at home as people can come in, rob the residents, vandalise the house, possibly rape anyone inside, and burn the house down. ¬†This happened especially to Mrs. Sims.

Mrs Sims is an old woman who lives by herself and is very religious, given that in the book, she “talked about everyone who wasn’t as holy as she thought she was”(page 21). ¬†This quote shows that she has a “holier than thou” kind a personality that makes her look down on others. ¬†She was also very arrogant and talks about others behind their backs, which is also exemplified by the quote. ¬†Her attitude even drove her son’s family to not live with her due to her and her son’s wife hating each other(page 21-22). ¬†This really says a lot about her unpleasant side of her personality since houses that are not burned down or broken into are rare, which makes her attitude not worth living with her. ¬†Despite this, when tragedy struck her, once where after several people in the church tried to help her, and again when her son’s family died in a house fire set by an unknown arsonist. ¬†These two actions causes Mrs. Sims¬†to commit suicide, which then the writer starts questioning her actions since she points out that Mrs. Sims is very religious and believes that the act of suicide will make that person burn in Hell(page 23). ¬†Despite the trauma Mrs. Sims went through, her actions made the writer question Mrs. Sims faith since the the writer herself is soul searching about God and since Mrs. Sims acted to sure of her faith, starts to wonder if it’s even possible to even follow it after going through to much.