What type of plot are the books Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler considered to have?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

While there is no formalized and accepted list of types of plots, there are many deep commonalities to be found in the vast libraries of tales that people have told over history. Octavia Butler's stories Parable of the Sower and Parable of Talents are no different.

These books take place in a near-future world where corporate greed and the resulting wealth gap, climate change, and totalitarian governments have destroyed the planet and led to massive social upheaval. At the end of Parable of Talents, the last book that Butler wrote in the series, Olamina takes the followers she has gained for her religion, Earthseed, to colonize other worlds. For these reasons, it makes sense to categorize these plots as utopian science fiction.

While the bulk of the story does not itself take place in a utopia, it does the work of establishing Butler's utopian vision (she has said in interviews that Olamina's philosophy is her own.) Interestingly, there was also meant to be a third book in this series, which presumably would have taken place on the world colonized by Earthseed followers, which solidifies the idea that Butler's goal was to write a series aimed at showing her vision of a better way for humanity.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial