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.