Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower is a cautionary tale about what the future may look like if the United States does not work harder to address pressing issues. For instance, one of the main topics this book warns readers about is the impacts of climate change. Butler sets the book in 2024 in an apocalyptic-like United States that was ruined by global climate change and political corruption. This world is also full of widespread poverty and violence. These are issues that are of great concern in the United States today, thus Butler seems to suggest that if the path we are currently on is not reversed, we will one day see a similar world full of destruction.
The state the world has come to has led people to be more destructive and divided. For example, consider how the widespread use of the addictive drug Pyro has increased the destruction of the landscape because it compels people to commit arson. The widespread destruction and violence have also increased the gap between rich and poor and caused people to not help those less fortunate than themselves. For instance, those who are very wealthy are able to distance themselves from the destruction, with the use of expensive things like helicopters. This is not possible for the middle or lower classes, which means that they are the ones who bear the worst impacts of the violence. Recall the deadly massacre that occurs in Lauren’s neighborhood. This event represents how many people in this future world lack compassion and how those who are not wealthy endure the most pain. This is not too far from the state of the world today.
Overall, Butler is cautioning people who live in the United States and readers from all over the world really that the poverty, environmental degradation, discrimination, and political corruption that is seen today is on track to get a lot worse. She paints a picture of the horrible state that the world could be in if we do not recognize and work to combat these problems now.