In the novel of “Do androids dream of electric sheep” a major theme is empathy. In the beginning of the novel Deckard questions the empathy he has for his electric sheep he cares for it but feels that his sheep doesn’t have any connection towards him. Deckard’s job is to retire androids it’s a civil job that doesn’t pay enough for the proper animal to own at home. Deckard quickly learns that humans can have no empathy and become something else that isn’t human like his partner Phil Resch who shot an android because he needed too. Deckard also learns that androids can develop empathy for example; when Rachel Rosen slept with him to prove that there’s more to androids than meets the eye.
“Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep” by Philip K. Dick is a mixture of fiction and existence.This novel was interesting do to the fact that an artificial brain was conducted much similar of that of a humans’. It makes me think, perhaps in the near future there might be such a thing and technology which will take over. Therefore, one theme that came to mind was the difference between androids and humans, how we can identify them? A question like this must have an answer and one of my conclusion was that “humans have emotions.” That is one trait that makes us different from everything else. In chapter 9, Rick showed sympathy towards Luba as she was killed, an emotion that only humans will feel. Another example is in the same chapter, Rick takes the test and identified himself as human, human enough to feel what a human should feel. I believe that this novel makes a great point in being a human; that we are unique and should appreciate what we have. I enjoyed this novel and its idea of sci-fi I hope to continue interesting novel such as these.
In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (DADoDE) empathy is what distinguish humans from androids and In Caves of Steel (CoS) the first law governing robot’s artificial brains is to never hurt humans. CoS ends with a human and a robot walking out the door “arm-to-arm” because in that plot robots are programmed to respect and enhance human life. This possibility is negated DADoDE. The consequence is, naturally, that in DADoDE humans cannot associate with androids because in doing so they are risking their lives.
Psychopaths is an equivalent reference in our modern society. They are considered monsters, not-human. Laking the ability to empathize with other humans make them dangerous individuals that must be kept apart from society. As DADoDE emphasizes the empathy with animals is a good sign that a human care about others and he or she will nurture the development of the two species. Many psychopaths have the history of torturing and/or killing animals. We see that as a sign of lack of empathy and remorse. If more evidences confirm that, we target that those people as threats.
The difference between the two sci-fi plots are the fact that a machine (android, robots) can be friendly or deadly. In CoS how they are built is what determines the relationship with humans. In DADoDE is an inherit defect of machines that dissociate them from humans.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (DADoES) mixes science fiction with existentialism and illustrate the human search for identity using other forms of existence as reference. DADoES is a novel that very descriptively asserts the intertwined relationship between animals, humans, machines and god. In a post- apocalyptic future, the god is Mercer, the one who is compassionate and forbear offenders throwing rocks at him. On the other side of the spectrum, the main character of DADoES is a human named Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter. Rick is in search of his own identity which is constantly influenced by his relationship with androids, animals and god. Mainly, Rick chases and kills androids in order to get cash reward to buy a real animal. Having a real animal is a sign of empathy and high status. It’s believed that the fundamental difference between humans and androids is the human ability to empathize with others. Rick uses the Voigt-Kampff test to establish that difference but he also chooses to transgresses that barrier having sex with an android. At the end, Rick experiences being Mercer. All the distinctions are blurred and Ricks’ search leads him nowhere.
Course updates, as noted via email:
1. Readings are now posted on the readings page. For next week, please prioritize reading They Say/I Say. Then choose 1 of the 2 critical readings (your choice). The biographical readings are optional. Look for the [DOWNLOAD PDF] links to find and download the readings.
2. I have written up a more formal version of the paper assignment. You can find it, along with a sample paper, on our assignments page.
3. Our course calendar has been updated.
Your paper is due at the beginning of class on 3/20. Please come to class next week with an idea of the repeated element you want to write about and some examples from our texts that showcase that moment. In class, we will discuss They Say/I Say and the two pieces of literary criticism. We will also do some workshopping of your papers, so please bring in any ideas/drafts you might have. Don’t leave the paper for the last minute!
Feel free to leave comments or to email me if you have questions.
— Emerson — we read to start our own teams
Do Androids Dream
— Human/Machine –
living, organic, flesh and blood, feelings, irrational, conscience, compassionate, skilled, spontaneous, greedy, reproductive, self-healing/repairing
fabricated, artificial, cold, indifferent, mechanical, logical, rational, dispassionate, binary, slaves, predictable, calculated, man-made, assembled
compare moments when a robot “dies” in Androids
— these moments might show us something interesting about how the novel portrays robot sentience, human relationships to robots, and the blurred lines between humans and robots
choose a theme or repeated element to explore — ie., moments when a robot is shot in Androids — and we assemble the evidence — get all of those moments together in front of us, and then compare them
notice similarities and differences
— look at whole scene — person pulling trigger, too
speculate on why you think that is so and what the differences and similarities mean
cf. androids from CS to Androids
why in both books are there new, advanced robotic models —
as robots become more advanced they will effect our society’
1. Moments where androids are killed
2. Moments where the Voigt-Kampf test is administered
3. Moments that involve animals
4. Moments involving Mercer/Mercerism
5. Moments where people question their own identity
6. Moments of interaction (or discussions of interaction) between human males and android females
7. Moments in which the main character reflects and becomes merciful
8. Moments where we see physical structures crumbling (kipple)
9. Moments where we see the effects of dust
10. Moments where we see the importance of the TV show/radio
11. Moments where sleep/rest is discussed
compared moments when robots die in Androids
as each android died — more graphic — new coming —
“Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep” by Philip K. Dick contains a lot of twists. It is one of the most interesting sci-fi stories I’ve ever read. I loved the intersection of another story (John Isidore’s), which is parallel to the main story (Dick’s), and how they relate at the end. Two stories have different paths, emotions and meanings, but they reunite to fit the missing puzzle pieces. We see how John and Dick are two different persons. The first has mental problems because of the nuclear explosion, and eager to have any relationship even with an android, as long as there is somebody who cares about him. The second is a bounty hunter who has house problems, because his wife believes in Mercerism, and needs the Penfield mood organ to fix her depressed and sad mood. And we see how both are attached to something that is not real, which is androids, (John attached to Pris, and Dick attached to his android sheep). This poses another theme in the book, which is intelligence vs. “chickenhead”, where it shows how both lives are, and how an intelligent person reacts in comparison to a “chickenhead”. It is a twist I love to see in movies, and for the first time I read it in a book which was unpredictable and fun.
Deckard’s conversation with Mercer
Why?” Rick said. “Why should I do it? I’ll quit my job and emigrate.”The old man said, “You will be required to do wrong no matter where you go. It is the basic condition of life, to be required to violate your own identity. At some time, every creature which lives must do so. It is the ultimate shadow, the defeat of creation; this is the curse at work, the curse that feeds on all life. Everywhere in the universe.”
I found this conversation interesting yet puzzling. How does the basic condition of life require violating one’s own identity? Mercer is saying that all life must at some point do this. (It doesn’t make sense to acknowledge this statement in relation to animals since they lack the ability to develop a complex identity in which they can violate. Maybe he is pertaining to only humans.) Nevertheless, it is still an abstract statement. This quote seems to be more of a person’s opinion rather than a statement from a higher truth which Mercer is suppose to represent. I believe that Mercer is in fact the author’s gateway into the book. In other words, his personal perspective of the storyline and also the real world.
I believe his statement to be true to a certain extent. In modern day earth most people, including myself, have to violate our own identity at some point. Out of my experience, I had to violate my identity because of a job which is exactly the same reason why Deckard did so also. Violating one’s identity is a “curse” as stated by Mercer, but this does not necessarily have to always be true. This “curse” only exists in capitalistic environments where people go out of their way to make money, which corresponds to violating ones identity due to an occupation. It seems that this is increasing becoming the case as the thirst for money increases. But who’s to say that all humans have to act in accordance to this and more importantly how does the entire universe revolve around this statement. What if a human is forced to live in a primitive state, such as surviving in an island, where an occupation isn’t required. Wouldn’t this Mercer’s statement be false?
One of the main themes than I noticed while reading “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep” by Philip K. Dick is empathy. Dealing with his job as bounty hunter, Dick had to have no empathy towards androids, especially the nexus-06. But throughout the story, we realize that Dick started to feel the empathy towards androids (humans and animal form), and that’s when he saw his fellow bounty hunter Phil killing an android with no mercy. So this twist of Dick’s emotions or feelings towards androids was impressive, especially that he was so eager to kill them in order to make money to buy an expensive animal. Not to forget that at the end, dick had an electrical toad, and was taking care of it as if it was real.
After reading some chapters of the novel do androids dream of electric sheep is about In the future, San Francisco lies under a cloud of radioactive dust from the last world war. Animals have become very rare, and in the story everyone is dreaming to have a pet that is being in possession of one is showing your wealth and also caring and love. But Rick Deckard only has an electric sheep. He’s dreaming of buying a real one, but the prices is very expensive, and when he is offered to make a lot of money he can’t refuse. He’s working for the police; an android killer. His job is to kill androids that have escaped illegally from Mars. He is very well paid for this job, but it is not an easy job. This androids are Nexus 6, the new model. They look exactly like humans. His hunt will change him for ever. He’s going to be confronted to queries about what makes the difference between a human being and a machine. I found this story very interesting and I sometimes ask similar kind of question that was mentioned in the book.