Parable of the Sower Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Parable of the Sower

Parable of the Sower is about a dystopian U.S. in the mid to late 21 century, where society breaks down economically, politically and socially. The citizens are left to fend for themselves in what is now a brutal country with a smattering of civilized enclaves. It is, further about our protagonist, Lauren Olamina and her desire to leave the Earth behind for a better world. The story starts from the pages of a diary. It is Lauren Olamina's diary. We discover from its pages, how the U.S. disintegrated into chaos and splintered into several warring nations. We learn further about resource scarcity and how anarchy became the defacto political framework. There are also those humans, who have developed a very strong empathic sense, hyperempathy, that allows them to powerfully feel both the pleasure and the pain of another human being. Lauren Olamina, our protagonist, is such a person, a hyperempath. And she, like all other hyperempaths have in some ways become victims of this hyperempathy. Death, torture, severe pain that is inflicted upon another in their immediate presence renders them with the same painful experience. Interestingly, hyperempathy, can into existence as a direct result of pharmaceuticals gone wrong, very much like the drug thalidomide, which resulted in the mothers who took it having babies with stunted or no arms at all.
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The story then details Lauren's escape from a gated Los Angeles enclave, that has been overrun and destroyed. It details her journey to a North Coast farming village, which Lauren and her husband, a medical doctor begin, with a number of travelers, also escaping hardship, that they meet on route. In time the village becomes quite successful and self-sustaining. Lauren then begins to preach her philosophy of leaving this broken world, called Earthseed, for new more fertile planets. Soon, the others begin to follow her philosophy, her belief system and they too look to other worlds for their future. However, the early anarchy has now been replaced by a fundamentalism, fueled by a newly elected president whose mission is to reunite the U.S. as a Christian nation. To him and his kind Lauren and her 'sect' are considered little more than witches.

Villages and towns about Lauren's community are being savaged. The common link for the towns that have been savaged is that they were considered not of fundamentalist cloth. Lauren's husband is concerned that they will be next and pleads with Lauren to move to a safer, larger, more fortified town. Lauren, however, remains unconcerned and unafraid and reluctant to move or cast aside her Earthseed philosophy. Soon Lauren gives birth to a daughter. Not long after the birth of her daughter, Lauren's village is raided and she and the entire village are made slaves of the fundamental sect responsible for the attack and collared with electronic devices that issue great pain.

Parable of the Sower is a powerful, moving and in many ways a prophetic story about the world in which we live and how truth, in many ways, is often much stranger than fiction.
Best part of story, including ending: I loved the storytelling and the envisoning of a future, that has every possibility of becoming a reality.

Best scene in story: The meeting between Lauren and a family member, that she believed long dead.

Opinion about the main character: I disliked Lauren's arrogance and lack of practicality. Despite her great wisdom and empathy the signs were so very clear that tragedy was imminent, yet she stood firm.

The review of this Book prepared by Kermit E. Heartsong a Level 1 Blue Jay scholar

Lauren, a young hyperempathic woman, is driven from her home when the walled community in which she has grown is overrun by a disenfranchised strung-out mob who go on a spree of murder and mayhem.

Separated from her family in the fray, Lauren and two other survivors from the carnage at their settlement set out on a cross-country trek north with the will to survive.
The review of this Book prepared by Gracie McKeever

Parable of the Sower takes place in the fairly near future (2024-2027 CE) after quite a bit of social disintegration and chaos. Walled neighbourhoods, gangs of drug-abusing arsonists, crime, and inhumanity are throughout the book. The main character, Lauren, is a young woman growing up during this time in Southern California. Her father is a minister and they live in a walled neighbourhood, trying to keep the insane world outside from getting in. Lauren has special powers that let her feel others pains. She also starts a new religion.
The review of this Book prepared by Veronica

In the near future, Lauren Olamina begins to develop her philosophy/religion of Change, as a way to redeem humanity and its future.
The review of this Book prepared by Christine G.

Chapter Analysis of Parable of the Sower

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 17.5%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 12.5%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 45%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 25% Tone of book    -   depressing/sad Repressive society story    -   Yes Magical Beings/Mental/Magical/Powers    -   Yes Inner Struggle    -   Yes Plotlet:    -   search for identity/new understanding    -   coping with mental/magical powers Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Religious overtones?    -   Yes

Main Character

Identity:    -   Female Profession/status:    -   student    -   champion of justice Age:    -   a teen


Earth setting:    -   near future (later in 21st century)    -   distant future Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   very explicit references to deaths and torture scientific jargon? (SF only)    -   none/very little science jargon needed Sex in book?    -   Yes How much dialogue?    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Octavia Butler Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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