Monday, March 7, 2011

Thursday Blog-Parable of the Sower Prompt 1

The Earthseed verse in chapter 10 (p 103) in Parable of The Sower was my favorite verse of this novel. I think that this verse essentially explains Lauren Olamina’s life and how the world is at her particular point in time. The ideas mentioned in this verse of fear, greediness, dividing, fighting, killing, and leading all ring true throughout the whole book. Some of the words used for this verse are the main themes of this book and I believe that this verse in Earthseed is really the true essence of Lauren’s Olamina’s life as a teenager, a religious woman, a community member, a citizen of this crazy world, and a leader.

The first six lines say, “ When apparent stability disintegrates as it must -- God is Change – People tend to give in To fear and depression, To need and greed.” (103) These lines say so much already about the novel. Every town and city in the United States is unstable and the country is slowly disintegrating. Life has become chaotic and Lauren shows this here. When she says God is Change, she means the people must change and they must react to what is happening around them. People giving into fear and depression explain almost every person in her community and every person she sees and meets along the way of her journey. For example, when Lauren shares with her best friend Joanne about her ideas of how the walls of the community will soon be broken through and people will soon want to raid this untouched town, Joanne gets scared and sad. She runs to tell her mom and Lauren, who was speaking as both a friend and a leader of religion, trying to do what is right and educate those around her, gets in a lot of trouble. Her dad explains to her “These things frighten people. It’s best not to talk about them.” (63), and Lauren cannot understand why there is apparent instability and the fear of people is so large that they do not want to help themselves. The portion about need and greed is apparent everywhere. In Lauren’s world people must look out for themselves, so need for objects like guns and food are a necessity and greediness comes with so much desire for needing things to protect oneself. This is a vicious cycle that plays out multiple times throughout the novel.

The next three lines “When no influence is strong enough to unify people they divide” speaks true on many levels. For example, once Lauren’s father went missing, families attempted to leave the community and live in Olivar because they couldn’t handle not having a leader like Mr. Olamina. Also, the Pyro group that invaded Lauren’s community was too strong for the already broken people that they were divided, some killed, some running for their lives.

The next seven lines of this verse say, “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.” (103) reminds me of Lauren’s experience with Keith. He struggled so much at home and then when he went out into the real world he struggled all the way throughout his time. He created chaos with his family and with people in the streets and killed to get what he wanted.

The last seven lines sum up all of Lauren’s life. The last seven lines say “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 will fear” (103). This is Lauren’s experience with the entire journey. She meets people like Jill and Allie who are destroyed and then they follow those who help them, like Lauren. Lauren was also exhausted and destroyed after the ruining of her community and then she becomes an amazing leader, both religiously and personally and lives to help others and lead them.


  1. You did a nice job with connecting every part of the verse to pieces of the text, however, what is here besides the literal. Whats the purpose of Lauren including a verse such as this one in earthseed? Why would she want others to see it? or what might butler mean by it? Are there alternatives to what courses of action these people (Keith, Allie, etc)?
    I think this has flow and organization, but there is little like "wow" factor. Though I admit the prompt leaves little room to do so. Also I kind of like the way you broke up the verse. At first I was annoyed because I had to go back and look it up, then I realized you had included it after all. Maybe include it first at the beginning and then throughout?

  2. Let's look at this line: "When she says God is Change, she means the people must change and they must react to what is happening around them." Throughout the essay, you are mostly simply repeating lines from the verses, and show how they are rooted in the events of the novel. That's fine, at least as far as it goes, but as Katie implies, there isn't much ambition in that approach. It's a good starting point, but it's not where you want to finish.

    That line that I quoted is different. That's an attempt - if not yet an extremely articulate one - to offer an *interpretation* of Lauren't theology. You aren't simply showing where the verse is coming from, but where it's going to, what it's trying to teach.

    What I would like to see, in other words, isn't just explaining the verse (where you do fine); it's using the verse in order to ultimately respond to or intererpret some theme or idea in the novel. That one line just stuck out to me as an example of where you arguably are beginning to do so.