Parable of the sower chapter 1 summary

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Parable of the sower chapter 1 summary

On the night of Lauren Oya Olamina 's fifteenth birthday, she dreams that she is floating through a house that is on fire. The dream shifts to a decollation of hanging up clothes to dry with her stepmother while looking up at the stars. Her stepmother reminisces about the time when the city lights would drown out the stars. When Lauren wakes, she believes that this dream is a reminder that it's all a lie. Though the God of Lauren's father - who is a Baptist minister - is no longer her God, she still consents to be baptized.

Along with a group of other teenagers and their families, Lauren rides her bike out of their walled compound and into the city at large; the families have decided they want their children to have a full-immersion baptism, which can only be conducted in a pool in a church across the city. While riding through the city, Lauren and the other members of the caravan see a number of disturbing sights: corpses on the sidewalk, a confused naked woman wandering around, and a bloodied child.

All of the adults in the caravan are armed - is is only safe to leave their walled communities in large groups, during the day, and with guns in hand.

Lauren finds these sights particularly difficult because she suffers from hyperempathy syndrome: she feels the pain of others as if it was her own. This ability is particularly difficult to deal with in the violent world in which she lives; her father has taught her that she doesn't have to give in to this feeling, which she sees as a problem.

Parable of the Sower Summary and Analysis of Chapters 5 - 9

Lauren acquired this ability from her birth mother, who was addicted to Paracecto and died giving birth to Lauren. Lauren's hyperempathy is not ESP or any mystical power; however, before she got her first period, she would spontaneously start bleeding every time she saw someone else bleeding.

As she receives the baptism, Lauren thinks about God. Her brother Keith says that God is just the grown-ups' way of getting you to do what they want. For some people, God is like a king or a cop or a father.

Lauren cannot help but think of the people who died in a recent storm, and wonders where God is in such a tragedy. The book of the Bible that Lauren likes most is the Book of Job, which deals with the terrible suffering that God metes out to a man named Job. Some people think that God is like a king or a judge, but Lauren thinks that God is none of these things - God is something else altogether. Lauren meditates on the state of the world. There is a presidential election going on, though few people bother to vote anymore.

One of the astronauts sent on the recent mission to Mars has died; though she would have preferred to be buried on Mars, her body will be returned to earth. Lauren decides that she will remember her name and honor this woman who could not be buried in her own heaven.

Parable of the Sower Summary and Analysis of Chapters 1 - 4

Meanwhile, the situation outside the walls of the neighborhood is getting more dire. More water sellers are being killed; corpses marked with the blue armband are turning up everywhere. Water is more expensive than gasoline now, though no one drives vehicles that operate on gasoline anymore. When the people of the neighborhood must venture outside, they usually ride bicycles and go in groups. Changes occur in the neighborhood as well: the Yannis family, who owned one of the last TVs in the neighborhood, recently suffered the breakdown of the appliance.

Everyone in the neighborhood used to come watch it, and the Yannises would sell food to the viewers. Lauren hopes they will be able to get along without it.

Later that week comes news that Mrs.A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics.

Parable of the Sower is a science fiction novel, the first in author Octavia E. Butler followed her publication with Parable of the Talents in The premier book tells the story of Lauren Oya Olaminaa teenage girl of color growing up in a post-apocalyptic society decimated by climate change.

As the book begins, she relates her life in a community near Los Angeles in with a minister father, a stepmother, and three brothers. Her world is a walled community, separated from the horrors around it.

This includes theft, arson, and rape—all commonplace occurrences in a desperate society. As part of their daily lives, Lauren and her family practice with weapons, grow food, and work to protect their small corner of the world. Lauren is hyperempathetic, a handicap that she tries to hide from most people because it makes her more desirable in some ways yet can fully incapacitate her. This condition is a result of drug-taking in her long-gone mother, and it means that she can feel the emotions of those around her as though everything was happening to her.

People die easily, from stray bullets, suicides, animal maulings, or opportunistic attacks by thieves and killers. The wall that separates them from outside society will surely fall someday. For example, her relationship with her best friend, Joanne Garfield, changes when Lauren tries to open her eyes to what needs to be done to survive, and Jo goes home and tells her parents what Lauren said, resulting in punishment for Lauren.

Her relationship with her stepmother Cory sours after one of her brothers, Keith, leaves the community to find better pickings elsewhere. Her father, whom she has a close relationship with, disappears completely one day and changes the whole community. Then one day, what Lauren fears happens. Pyros, people who take a particular drug that makes setting fires more euphoric for them than sex, ram a truck through the gate and set fire to their homes.

Her family is dead. Most of her community dies with them. As they travel along highways and through cities and towns on the path, she and her friends do what they need to survive and protect one another. They also start collecting others, and soon, she has assembled a small group of people, including children, who are all wary but willing to protect one another and share food and shelter.

Some of the group are former slaves.In early March, there is a series of intense rainstorms. It has not rained in six years in southern California, and the storm feels like a miracle.

Parable of the Sower Summary

But on the heels of this wonderful event comes terrible news: little Amy Dunn is dead. Someone shot her at the metal gate leading into the neighborhood; it's not clear if she was caught in crossfire that penetrated the heavy gate, or if someone outside lured her there and then killed her. Lauren is devastated by her death and her hatred of the neighborhood increases. She compares it to an island surrounded by sharks.

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Lauren confides in her friend Joanne that she wants to start making a backup plan to protect herself and her family if the walls fall. All across the country there is unrest and violence; there's cholera in Mississippi and Louisiana, and measles in New York.

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There's also a frightening new drug that makes people want to set fires. Lauren knows that someday the falls will fail and all the violence that's been kept at bay will consume them.

Joanne suggests that maybe the new President Donner will bring things back to the way they once were, but Lauren is skeptical of this idea. She tells Joanne that they need to make emergency packs and prepare themselves to survive in the wilderness. Joanne is skeptical and a little scared by Lauren's predictions, but she does borrow one of the books Lauren has on edible plants native to California.

Misunderstanding Lauren's message, Joanne tells her mother that Lauren is planning to run away; her mother then tells Lauren's father. Lauren's father angrily confronts her. She tries to explain how she is just preparing for the inevitable breakdown of society, but her father accuses her of panicking people. Her father tells her that it isn't up to her to find ways to protect people, but she urges him to at least consider telling people to make emergency packs that they can grab if they need to get out of the house fast.

Lauren's father dismisses the idea and points out all the other things the neighborhood people are doing to defend themselves: conducting target practice, having the emergency bell, and so on.

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Lauren's father ends by telling her that it's time to show her the important things buried in the yard in sealed containers. Joanne apologizes to Lauren, who accepts her friend's remorse; however, she doesn't know if she can ever trust her again. Thieves sneak over the neighborhood wall and steal fruit from the citrus trees. Lauren's father organizes a nightly neighborhood patrol - based on the advice that Lauren gave. Lauren overhears her father and stepmother arguing that night. Cory is afraid for his safety during the neighborhood patrols - armed thieves could kill him.

Lauren's father merely recites a verse from the Bible.Parable of the Sower. Plot Summary. Exclusion Creation, Destruction, and Rebirth Truth vs. Denial Writing, Books, and Scripture.

All Symbols Acorns Fire Heaven. LitCharts Teacher Editions. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of every Shakespeare play.

Sign Up. Already have an account? Sign in. From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. Sign In Sign Up. Literature Poetry Lit Terms Shakescleare. Download this LitChart! Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Parable of the Sower can help. Themes All Themes. Symbols All Symbols. Theme Wheel. LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Parable of the Sowerwhich you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

It is a year later, Chapter 4 is preceded by two quotes from The Book of the Livingone that warns that intelligence can be dangerous, and another that argues that victims of God can find the power to shape God. The neighborhood has a plan for fires, which they execute successfully. Lauren worries about what will happen to Amy, whose mother, Tracywas only twelve when she got pregnant with her as a result of being raped by her uncle.

Sixteen members of the Dunn family live in the same house, and they are known for being crazy. Amy mostly plays alone in the dirt. Lauren asks Cory if Amy could be allowed to start school early, offering to help look after her, and Cory agrees. The fact that Amy starts a fire emphasizes the fact that she is a destructive presence. Although she is only a young child and should bring joy to her family, in reality she is another reminder of their struggle and misery.JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser.

For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. Parable of the Sower is conveniently divided into four years:,and These divisions provide a handy-dandy way for us to trace what happens in the novel. We meet Lauren Olamina when she's growing up in Robledo, a fictional town in southern California. Robledo's a gated community, although it's kind of just a neighborhood with a wall around it. It's not like the people in Robledo are particularly well off—kind of the opposite, in fact.

Lauren is a cool girl with hyperempathy syndrome, which means she feels others' pain and pleasure. That seems to make her both more vulnerable and more compassionate to others. InLauren gets baptized—even though she doesn't believe in her father's Baptist religion—and gets inspired by Alicia Leal, an astronaut who dies on Mars. Lauren writes in her journal and observes the early signs that the gated community where she lives is falling apart: for example, the suicide of one of the residents, Mrs.

Sims, shows that not all is well. This year is just sort of the basis or starting point of novel. It establishes where Lauren is before anything really gets underway. Ina lot more starts to happen. Amy Dunn, a little girl in the community, accidentally starts a fire and later dies from a stray bullet shot through the gate—maybe a little foreshadowing going on here? The residents of Robledo hold target practice to help train everyone in what to do during an emergency or attack.

This all sounds good in theory, but in practice, Lauren's not convinced that these measures can defend Robledo from the drug addicts and robbers and other threats living beyond the gate. So Lauren tells Joanne, her best friend, that they need to prepare better for emergencies and learn some survival skills—you know, since maybe the neighborhood will be destroyed.

Change is coming, Lauren predicts—but Joanne won't listen. In fact, Joanne tattles on her, and as a result, Lauren's father tells her to keep calm and not carry on.

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While all this is going on, Lauren finds comfort writing her verses. She's named her religion Earthseed, and she's committed to spreading it someday in the future. Keith, her brother, has other plans: he keeps sneaking off beyond the community's gate, playing at being a grown-up and sending his family into chaos.

Sometimes he comes back bearing money as a gift for Cory, Lauren's stepmother, but we get the feeling life is headed downhill for him pretty fast. Now it's —Happy New Year? Keith is still living outside, but Lauren susses it out from him that he's involved in crime, even murder, to stay alive.

Yeah, well, pretty soon, her parents have to go downtown to identify Keith's dead body. Things are changing, all right. There are more and more break-ins as thieves continue robbing the neighborhood. Lauren sees that it's only a matter of time before Robledo is destroyed.

Parable of The Sower [Audio]

The community starts holding watches at night, but thieves still bust in. Joanne's family, seeing all this danger, leaves for the company town of Olivar, where they think the future might be better—though really, it just seems like going into debt slavery.Parable of the Sower. Plot Summary. Exclusion Creation, Destruction, and Rebirth Truth vs. Denial Writing, Books, and Scripture.

All Symbols Acorns Fire Heaven. LitCharts Teacher Editions. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of every Shakespeare play. Sign Up. Already have an account? Sign in. From the creators of SparkNotes, something better.

Sign In Sign Up. Literature Poetry Lit Terms Shakescleare. Download this LitChart! Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Parable of the Sower can help. Themes All Themes.

parable of the sower chapter 1 summary

Symbols All Symbols. Theme Wheel. LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Parable of the Sowerwhich you can use to track the themes throughout the work. In the dream, she is teaching herself to fly, but ends up flying into a wall of fire.

She tries desperately to escape, but is consumed by the flames. Sometimes she wakes up at this point, but on this night she keeps dreaming; she at first descends into darkness and then begins to see stars. At 15, Lauren is still a young person learning how to exist in the world, and this perhaps explains the fact that in her dream she is teaching herself to fly.Six months have passed since Keith left the Olumina family home for good.

parable of the sower chapter 1 summary

He will visit occasionally when his father isn't around, and he regales Lauren with stories of living in the world outside.

He lives in a building with his "friends" whom Lauren knows are violent criminalsand he provides an indispensable but unusual service to them: reading. Most of them are illiterate, and they do not know how to read the directions on the expensive electronics that they steal.

Lauren is certain that he is involved with other things - drugs, prostitution - but he makes no mention of these things. Keith describes meeting a man who was trying to walk to Alaska, then admits that he shot the man and stole tens of thousands of dollars from his backpack.

Lauren is horrified. Keith insists that such an act is really quite commonplace in the outside world. He also tells Karen about the pyros, people who are addicted to a drug that make setting fires feel more pleasurable than sex. They paint their faces in unusual colors, and engage in violent and dangerous activities. They usually don't live past their late twenties. Keith visits a few more times, once offering Lauren some money for her birthday. She's certain that it's money he must have killed someone to get, so she refuses it.

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Not long after, the family is called to the city morgue to identify Keith's body. He was tortured to death, his eyes gouged out, his entire body cut and burned all over.

Cory is completed devastated, and the rest of the family is horrified. The police are unable to do anything constructive or find the murderer; all they know is that drug dealers usually kill people in this way. Lauren wonders if it was Keith's "friends" or a rival gang who killed him. Though she mourns her brother, she also thinks he was a sociopath. Crime is getting increasingly worse in the neighborhood; thieves sneak over the walls all the time to steal from people.

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In one attempted robbery, the thieves murder an old woman who had gotten up to make tea. There is also a new social development - or perhaps a return to an older way of being. Olivar, a city threatened by receding coasts, has allowed a company called Kagimoto, Stamm, and Frampton KSF to buy and privatize the town.

The citizens of Olivar are now the workforce of KSF, which will build farming and water desalination plants. The people of Olivar are mainly white and upper-middle-class, but their crumbling coastline and desperate economic straits have pushed them to make this deal with KSF.

parable of the sower chapter 1 summary

Many people are unsettled by this new development - they know of early American company towns where corporations abused citizens - but many people are desperate for a chance at a good salary in a safe area. KSF has announced that it is looking for professionals such as teachers and nurses; Cory called the provided phone numbers, but Lauren's father is less optimistic about KSF. The salaries there are so low that it is entirely possible that workers will go into debt, binding themselves to KSF with no hope of escape.

Lauren's family discuses the benefits of moving to Olivar, but Lauren's father is not sure Olivar will accept a large black and Hispanic family. However, the Garfields the family of Lauren's friend Joanne have applied to work at Olivar. Lauren decides that when she turns eighteen, she will head north. She will have no prospects in her neighborhood except Earthseed, and establishing Earthseed can only begin when she leaves the confines of the neighborhood.


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