Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Analysis

The Plot (Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? recounts a day in the life of bounty hunter Rick Deckard. The action begins on the morning of January 3, 1992, as Deckard and his wife, Iran, wake up in their apartment; it concludes the following morning, as an exhausted Deckard returns to bed. In that twenty-four-hour period, Deckard faces the greatest challenge he has ever encountered: He must “retire” a rogue band of “organic androids” (or “andys,” as they are called) of a design so advanced that they are almost indistinguishable from human beings. His task is complicated by his attraction for another android, Rachael Rosen, who tries to prevent him from carrying out his mission.

The story is set in a gray world devastated by “World War Terminus” and the resulting radioactive fallout, which is slowly depopulating the planet. Many people have left to settle in a colony on Mars, where androids are employed for hard labor, domestic service, and other purposes. In making their escape from Mars and servitude, the rogue andys that Deckard is to retire killed a number of humans. The people who remain on Earth have witnessed the extinction of many animal species. Possession of an animal—a horse, a sheep, or even a cat—confers status; for those who cannot afford the real thing, artificial animals are available. Deckard himself has an electric sheep but greatly desires to own a living creature. That is the primary motivation in his quest: The...

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Historical Context

Harrison Ford atop a Metrocab in Blade Runner Published by Gale Cengage

The Cold War and Vietnam
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? portrays a world that has survived a nuclear...

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Setting

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?? portrays a world that has survived a nuclear holocaust, a possibility that did not seem too...

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Literary Style

Narrative/Point of View
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is narrated in third person, with the characters...

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Social Sensitivity

The 1960s—the decade during which Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?? was published— were a time of conflict, confusion, and...

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Compare and Contrast

  • 1968: The Americans are caught in a space race with the Soviets to reach the moon. Many predict moon colonies and...

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Topics for Discussion

1. Do some research into the pieces of art and music mentioned in the novel. What is the significance of the paintings of Edvard Munch or...

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Ideas for Reports and Papers

1. Draw parallels between Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and other abolitionist novels. Imagine the speech of Shylock in...

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Topics for Further Study

  • Do some research into the pieces of art and music mentioned in the novel. What is the significance of the paintings of Edvard Munch or...

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Media Adaptations

  • The novel was adapted to film as Blade Runner in 1982. Directed by Ridley Scott, the movie starred Harrison Ford as retired...

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? What Do I Read Next?

  • Dick presents some insight into his fictional cosmology in his essay "Man, Android, and Machine," published in the anthology Science...

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? For Further Reference

Dick, Philip K. "Notes on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968)." The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick. Pantheon Books,...

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Bibliography and Further Reading

Sources
Dick, Philip K. Afterword to The Golden Man. Berkley Publishing, 1980.

Le Guin, Ursula K....

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Bibliography (Masterpieces of American Literature)

Apel, D. Scott, ed. Philip K. Dick: The Dream Connection. San Diego: Permanent Press, 1987.

Carrere, Emmanuel. I Am Alive and You Are Dead: The Strange Life and Times of Philip K. Dick. Translated by Timothy Bent. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2003.

Lem, Stanislaw. Microworlds: Writings on Science Fiction and Fantasy. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1984.

Mackey, Douglas A. Philip K. Dick. Boston: Twayne, 1988.

Mason, Daryl. The Biography of Philip K. Dick. London: Gollancz, 2006.

Olander, Joseph, and...

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