Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Second Parable of the Sower: Prompt 1

When apparent stability disintegrates,
As it must–
God is Change–
People tend to give in
To fear and depression,
To need and greed.
When no influence is strong enough
To unify people
They divide.
They struggle,
One against one,
Group against group,
For survival, position, power.
They remember old hates and generate new ones,
They create chaos and nurture it.
They kill and kill and kill,
Until they are exhausted and destroyed,
Until they are conquered by outside forces,
Or until one of them becomes
A leader
Most will follow,
Or a tyrant
Most fear.

Altogether, this verse illustrates the complete complexity of the entire Parable of the Sower novel in just ninety-five simple words.  Needless to say, that is indeed the reason why I chose this particular verse and why it stood out so much:  Fascinating me at first glance.  With such efficiently used space, an idea of Changing people, Changing ways, and Changing views were able to be well-learned from these insightful words.   Therefore, not only did this verse of chapter 10 lend a hand in showing the insight into specifically Lauren Olamina’s life, but also, perhaps more importantly, to humanity in California as a whole:  The prevalent victims of neglecting change, need and greed, and a never ending struggle to unify themselves.
            To be sure, we look at how in this verse from EARTHSEED:  THE BOOKS OF THE LIVING that we analyze and point out one of the main statements and morals made about Change and how it is in equality with God.  From Octavia Butler’s creation of such a dystopian world in 2024, it has also inescapably led to the creation of our heroine Lauren Olamina – who holds such an upstanding and enlightening meaning of Change.  It seems that from this analysis, she has equated “God is Change” (103): Because, that in order for humanity to no longer live in fear or depression one must first Change and believe in themselves to do right and become well again.  By neglecting this self-Change, people whom we have been acquainted with in the novel so far have become all too familiar with this specific neglect.  For example, in chapter 10 we see Keith the big bad fourteen year old come home to give gifts of money and tell of his new residence:  However later on, he speaks of God in a way that could be critiqued and delved into deeper.  Meaning, that when he stated, “What was I supposed to do?  Wait for God to come and give me some money? What was I supposed to do?” (110) Could have in fact been seen as him being blind and unbelieving to Change. This is not accidental word play by Butler: It is an intentional common placement of the word God to mean something more – Change.  Signifying that, Butler is showing how Keith is questioning waiting for God in way that Lauren would analyze by deducing that he must not wait for God, but rather wait for his own Change.  Specifically, if he would have realized and changed to this self-actualizing idea of Change – perhaps he would not have been killed later on by association with drug dealers.  This simple phrase of God is Change may seem like a crude over simplification on things, but the complexity that which can be met by the idealization of EARTHSEED:  THE BOOKS OF THE LIVING is limitless.
            Furthermore, along with the ever-important belief that “God is Change” (103) an idea of “need and greed” (103) comes into play as well in this Earthseed stanza.  From this part of the verse, examples can be exemplified throughout the entire novel regarding the Los Angeles citizens and their needs and greed.  For instance, the need and greed of a person can become quickly and destructively conjoined as one for many feeble minded citizens:  Not only in this chaotic dystopian time, but also throughout history, always wanting to feel something better.  This need – which will regrettably turn to greed, has turned so many patrons of Los Angeles in 2024 into fearful killers and hopeless drug attics.  To illustrate the desensitizing of killing, we can tell of how when Lauren asks Keith, “Doesn’t it even bother you that you took someone’s life–you killed a man?” (110) He cold heartedly and unfazed replies, “It didn’t bother me… I didn’t feel nothing.” (110) Being at such a young age of fourteen, one can only imagine the destruction and death that could come from someone who, unlike Keith, is actually on drugs:  Namely, the drug “Pyro”.  Relations can be made between the 1980’s need and greed for drugs to the same need and greed of 2024:  Always needing that next fix and would do anything for it.  Since people have become undoubtedly worse, I believe to see this Earthseed verse as suitable prayer of sorts that can Change and help guide lost souls.  As before, it is dependant upon the strength inside the individual’s heart:  And if not obtained, the city then the world will be torn apart by their own need and greed to survive their fixations and unmoral ways.
            Admittedly, with out the transformation of these two major aspects of Change and need/greed – humanity of this horrid time will unlikely be able to reach salvation and unify itself as one group.  Unless that is to say, a leader rises to the test and its burden of standing in front of people you feel for (Hyperempathy) and doing what you believe to be right.  Not only must it be justified, but it must also have a deeper meaning that which people can learn to believe and trust in.  For that, we have Lauren Olamina and her Earthseed religion.  From this verse I believe that one, if properly educated enough, can learn that all that is needed – is you.  Unquestionably, everyone must Change and realize that without adopting this new Self-Religion of Earthseed– no advance in the unification of humanity will ever occur:  Destruction and chaos will endure until the people of Los Angeles believe in themselves through Earthseed.
            In final summary of this verse, it is clear that from EARTHSEED:  THE BOOKS OF THE LIVING, it is factual that unless you read and adopt these ways, you, like the rest of the world, will indeed fail to Live.  Consequently, it is unfortunate that we cannot completely discuss this verse and its involvedness with life in its entirety in such a short amount of space.  However, it is viable that in such a short space and little words, such as Change – that the moral compass which the citizens of Los Angeles must guide themselves, be it now or in the year 2024 – is able to be learned from this summating EARTHSEED verse.  Everyone must believe in a God, and that God is Change: And in that, themselves.  “Respect God…” (294)

1 comment:

  1. Your use of capitalization at the end (but also throughout) in apparent agreement or at least sympathy with Lauren is quite interesting. If you are trying to write an essay about the objective truth (as opposed to just the truth of it within the novel) of earthseed, though, I think you could have been more clear about it.

    Your choice of verse was good, although it is, as you acknowledge, quite complicated. This isn't a terrible thing, but it made your essay a little more scattered than it might have been. You are somewhat successful in using Keith to focus your essay, but I think that if you had specifically framed the essay as being about an interpretation of Keith's character (specifically, his failure) by means of the verse, you would have been able to clarify your argument and push it farther, while trimming some of the other material.

    Many people struggled to really find a focus with this topic; I think you're much closer than most people are, but that you're still not 100% there.