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Lauren Olimina is the principal character of Parable of the Sower. Her father, the Reverend Robinson, and the middle-aged Taylor Franklin Bankole, whom she meets on the road, are the two most important other characters. Born in 2009, Lauren has four step-brothers, Greg, Ben, Marcus, and Keith, "the youngest and dumbest." She is unusually mature, is adept in cooking and sewing, and is as skilled with tools and guns, which her father requires her to learn about, as she is introspective, scholarly, a reader, and a writer. She is also a leader. She sees far in advance of events. Thus, she has a survival knapsack packed and ready when it comes time to flee into the dangerous "wilderness" beyond the walls of her home enclave, where the ruins of civilization and the depraved and degenerate underclass populations roam like packs of hyenas. She possesses a psi sense that forces her to feel the pain of others around her, exactly as they feel it. This becomes an asset when she is in the company of someone who is feeling good, such as a lover who is experiencing strong erotic feelings, which she may thereupon join to her own. She is, above all, driven by a powerful conviction that she has value. She is therefore an active proselytizer of the Earthseed philosophy/theology she creates.

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Lauren's father, Reverend Olimina is the explicitly major source of Lauren's self esteem. He was to the end a man of faith and good will. He shared what he could get with whomever he found in need. He was loyal to Lauren, the pole by which she set her compass. He is in a major sense a character familiar enough, the sort of father many women might wish they had. He taught Lauren that she was his friend and ultimately his equal. Lauren's father establishes the foundation for her attraction to Taylor Bankole, an African-American doctor who has gone on the road after losing his family. He is fifty-seven in 2027, when Lauren is eighteen. She likes him from the very first, noting his "short salt and pepper beard" and fine "brown eyes," Bankole's age does not bother her except to make her reflect that he will not be alive nearly as long as she would like. It is Bankole's property, a large parcel of farmland in Northern California, that is the goal of the small group (of twelve?) that collects in the journey north — the spine of the story. Lauren, her father, and Bankole are epitomes of the sort of people Butler believes would make a world in which people could live fulfilling lives.


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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1739

Harry Balter
Harry Balter is a young white man from the same neighborhood as Lauren. His girlfriend is his first cousin, Joanne Garfield, but they split up when the Garfield family moves to Olivar. Harry survives the violent attack on the neighborhood and is one of the original members of Lauren’s group. His new girlfriend is Zahra Moss. Harry is more trusting than Lauren, and on the road he has to learn to become more ruthless.

Taylor Franklin Bankole
Taylor Franklin Bankole is a fifty-seven-yearold black doctor who joins Lauren’s group halfway through their journey. Since he is much older than the others, he is able to give them steady advice and support. Bankole is from San Diego, and he left his community after it was destroyed by arson. Five years earlier, his wife died after being beaten by thieves. Bankole and Lauren are attracted to each other and soon become lovers. He tells Lauren that he is on his way to three hundred acres of land that he owns in the coastal hills of Humboldt County, California. He hopes to meet up with his sister and her family who live there. Lauren and the group make this their destination, but when they arrive, they find that the house has been destroyed and the family killed.

(The entire section contains 2175 words.)

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