This is a study guide for the book Parable of the Sower written by Octavia E. Butler. Please click on the study guide category you wish to be displayed.
At the beginning of the novel, Lauren, her family and the other families within the walled neighborhood live as virtual prisoners. If they do venture outside, they must go armed. They are under constant siege from the thieves and drug addicts who roam the streets outside. These desperate people frequently break into the neighborhood and steal, burn and scavenge whatever they can.
There are no prospects for the young people within the wall. No jobs are available, and their lives will slowly get worse; they will get poorer and poorer. All seventeen-year-old Bianca Montoya can expect when she marries, for example, is to live in half a garage. The federal government is powerless to improve the situation.
The only alternative for many is to move to the company town of Olivar. But the people who choose this option value security over freedom, since the company will control every aspect of their lives. Not surprisingly, Lauren refuses to even consider going to Olivar.
Instead, she chooses to take her destiny into her own hands and walk north to freedom, even though she knows it will be a dangerous journey and she has no clear idea of her destination. Many of the people who join her are escaping some form of virtual slavery. Zahra Moss was kept under the thumb of her husband; Jill and Allie Gilchrist were enslaved to their father who forced them into prostitution; and Emery Solis was in debt slavery to her employer. When Lauren and her group reach Bankole's property they are free to decide for themselves whether they want to stay there. Although they still face a difficult task in trying to survive, they have freed themselves from external oppression.
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