The Parable of the Sower ~ by Octavia E. Butler

This is such a good book I’m going to finish the series (of 2) so I’m in line at the library – they say 2 weeks but …  (I might buy it early but …?)  

Major idea as advocated by Lauren, the protagonist: 

 “All that you touch You Change./All that you Change Changes you./The only lasting truth Is Change./God Is Change” 

Parable of the Sower
by Octavia Butler
read by Lynn Thigpen 12 h
Rating: 9 / dystopian fiction
(both read and listened)

“This is also an almost necessary analysis of late-stage capitalism and American nationalism.”

The Parable of the Sower was first published in 1993 but is prescient in some ways with the idea of our society going backwards ala The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. 

 Also, this book fits pretty well in some ways with The Dawn of Everything (David Graeber and David Wengrow) which the AllNonfiction Group is now reading.  This is because in The Parable of the Sower climate change and the wealth gap have  apparently reduced humanity to some basics.  It seems like humans have become barbaric.  Many of them don’t even read and write anymore (pre-historic).  And that’s what the G&W book is about – prehistoric communities.

What with climate change the wealth gap of society and a new national administration, society collapses and people migrate north. After a few years of their own serious difficulties at home outside of LA the 17-year old Lauren Olamina, age 17, goes too, along with two other young people she knows. Their families have been killed in a fire.  

Lauren is “empathic,” feeling the pain of others.  This is not a joke or a fantasy – the condition is sometimes physical.

And from the book,  “If hyper-empthathy syndrome were a common complaint, people couldn’t do such things.”  p. 115

I don’t know what’s happened to birth control in this era but nobody seems to have it.  

Lauren Olamina is 15 years old when the story starts and about 18 when she starts her journey to freedom or her spiritual destination.  Her father is a Baptist minister, her mother died, but she has a stepmother who means well, but is somewhat ineffectual.  The family is Black and is well-to-do compared to some of their neighbors who all live on a cul-de-sac with a wall around it.  They hear that it’s much worse in LA, about 30 miles away.  

The book is written as a kind of journal but Lauren also writes regularly in a notebook she calls Earthseed.  

Their president seems rather prescient in that it looks (to me) like a fascist man has been elected – President Donner.  According to Lauren Donner wants to go back a century or so – to the “good old days.”  

 Biblical passages are referred to from time to time. “Thou shalt not kill” vs “fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”  But Lauren has found a new way of believing and wants to start a religion. She writes a book at some point and parts are quoted throughout The Parable of the Sower. But the violence increases and people get poorer and more desperate.  The people in Lauren’s community get more scared, more desperate.  

“Stumbling across the truth isn’t the same as making things up.” –  Lauren after being accused of making Earthseed up. 

 There have been catastrophes of fire and flood and earthquakes and so on and most of the damage has not been repaired because people don’t have that kind of money.  Gangs with guns run the streets and neighborhoods and corpses and rape victims are a common sight.  And times are getting worse. 

 I’ll get Book 2.  I want to know what happens. 

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1 Response to The Parable of the Sower ~ by Octavia E. Butler

  1. Gayle says:

    “The Dawn of Everything” is biased disingenuous account of human history ( ) that spreads fake hope (the authors of “The Dawn” claim human history has not “progressed” in stages, or linearly, and must not end in inequality and hierarchy as with our current system… so there’s hope for us now that it could get different/better again). As a result of this fake hope porn it has been widely praised. It conveniently serves the profoundly sick industrialized world of fakes and criminals. The book’s dishonest fake grandiose title shows already that this work is a FOR-PROFIT, instead a FOR-TRUTH, endeavor geared at the (ignorant gullible) masses.

    Fact is human history has “progressed” by and large in linear stages, especially since the dawn of agriculture ( ). The book’s alleged major “fundamental” insight is “the ultimate, hidden truth of the world is that it is something that we make, and could just as easily make differently” (the first part of that statement is hardly a great insight because a perceptive child can recognize that) YET fails to answer why we do NOT make it differently than it is now if we, supposedly can make it “EASILY” different, why we’ve been “stuck” in this destructive sytem for a very long time. THAT is really where “the ultimate, hidden truth” is buried and the answer is… it is because of the enduring hegemony of “The 2 Married Pink Elephants In The Historical Room” ( ) which the fake hope-giving authors of “The Dawn” entirely ignore naturally (no one can write a legitimate human history without understanding the nature of humans)

    A good example that one of the authors, Graeber, has no real idea what world we’ve been living in and about the nature of humans is his last brief article on Covid where his ignorance shines bright already at the title of his article, “After the Pandemic, We Can’t Go Back to Sleep.” Apparently he doesn’t know that most people WANT to be asleep, and that they’ve been wanting that for thousands of years (and that’s not the only ignorant notion in the title). Yet he (and his partner) is the sort of person who thinks he can teach you something authentically truthful about human history and whom you should be trusting along those terms. Ridiculous!

    “The Dawn” is just another fantasy, or ideology, cloaked in a hue of cherry-picked “science,” served lucratively to the gullible ignorant underclasses who crave myths and fairy tales.


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