Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Parable of the Sower Prompt 1

Throughout the book The Parable of the Sower, many different ideas are shared by the Earthseed group. The leader of the group Lauren is what the book calls a “sharer.” She has a syndrome called hyperempathy. This means that she feels what other people feel. This is both an asset and a disadvantage for her throughout the book. The world in which the group Earthseed lives is full of corruption and pain. The group is made up of believers of a higher calling and they set out on a quest to change the world in which they live. The overall idea in their faith is change. They believe that by taking a positive ownership of change, that they will be able to make the world a better place.

In the verse in chapter 19, again there is a central point about change. they also integrate their belief that space travel allows for an escape from their world which is falling apart. They believe that it is important to have this destiny as something to believe in for the future. In the verse, the central object is the life of a galaxy. Throughout the verse the life of a galaxy is explained. I believe that they are relating this to their idea of life on Earth. They believe that, like a star, life first ignites. Then during its life it burns. Then it begins to age. Finally it cools and disappears. This can also be related to the idea of life on Earth. People are first born initially igniting their life. During their childhood and bulk of their life they burn. As they get older they begin to age. As they near the end of their life they begin to cool until they pass away. This metaphor is very effective in explaining the timeline of life.

Following this verse, the word Evolving is present. I believe that the Earthseed group understands that the world around them is constantly evolving or changing. This idea is integral in understanding their belief system. Understanding that nothing in life is a static event is important if you really want to evoke change in the world around you.

In chapter 19, Earthseed encounters a very important event. An earthquake occurred, trapping two women beneath the ruins of a house. Lauren and her Earthseed members went in to the house to save the women knowing that their actions could put them at risk for an attack. In this situation Lauren is putting herself in danger in the hope that they would be able to make a difference in the world by saving the two women. When the group comes out of the house they are attacked by people who are intent on taking their possessions. Laruen in self defense is able to overcome her hyperempathy syndrome in order to defend herself and her group. She kills the man who attacked her even though she feels intense pain throughout the situation.

Like the word Evolve in the verse, Lauren is able to evolve in order to survive. Although she feels intense pain when she kills her attacker, she does not feel guilt over the situation. Lauren believes that she can separate her faith in order to defend herself and her group. This ability and the belief that she can fulfill her quest for change are the propelling influences in her journey. Without the belief that she can accomplish her goal, there would be no reason to continue.

In the final line of the verse, the line reads “God Prevails.” I believe that this ultimately means that Earthseed’s idea of change will prevail whether they are successful in their quest to change the world or not. Change is the main factor within their lives and it will be there whether they are or not. This idea does not die with them and they are not the only ones who share this belief.

Throughout this verse there are two distinct ideas which are present. First the idea that everything in life evolves, and second, that the process of change will always prevail. These ideas are what propel the Earthseeder’s on their quest to change the world in which they live. Their belief that they will ultimately achieve their goal of change is what drives them throughout he novel.

1 comment:

  1. You're obviously right that Butler is making a metaphor between biological evolution and the (inorganic) development of the universe. We went over some of that in class, though; I would have been happier to see you explicitly either challenge what was said, or except it and move farther.

    Your discussion of the use of Evolving is a fine start, but I'd have liked to see a more ambitious form. What do I mean by that? Evolving (or evolution) is a technical, scientific term but *also* a term in wide circulation, sometimes used loosedly. It is, moreover, capitalized here in a very eccentric way, which implies that it is understood as a proper name, or even as a divinity.

    My point isn't that I want you to focus on any particular aspect of that, or take any particular stand. My point is that it's a loaded term, which Butler is deliberately making more loaded (rather than defusing it). Your analysis of the use of the term just stratches the surface. Yes, Lauren evolves (in the loose, non-technical sense of "changing"), but she is also an evolved being (that is, she is biologically different in a way which seems to be adaptive) and also a servant of Change, or Evolution. Figuring out which of those really applies in your scene with Allie and Jill would have been very productive.

    In short, this essay is a decent start, but there were also a number of missed opportunities, especially since we talked about some of this in class.