Parable of the Sower

In the Parable of the Sower, Octavia E. Butler writes about a society ten years from now where all the wrongs in our society have taken over. The crime rate is at an all-time high, climate change is undeniable, and inhabitants must live in fear, hiding within walled communities. She even managed to bring up the privatization of natural resources, as is an issue today in many developing nations. I found it interesting that the character who shows most leadership throughout the novel is an African-American woman. She is even given a trait that is often associated with women, deep empathy disguised as a disease called “hyperempathy syndrome”. A trait that does seem to hinder her at times, is actually wildly accepted by her group and helps her out in the end.

Something that surprised me a lot in the novel is the ongoing mention of race. One would think that in an apocalyptic world such as this one, people wouldn’t have time to constantly dwell on such a trivial issue such as race, yet it is constantly brought up. I understand that Butler wanted to bring up issues that are prevalent in today’s society, but I do not understand the way she chose to incorporate race into this novel.

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