Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 378
Butler's works feature principally women of nonwhite races as protagonists, mostly African American. She has in her stones followed the history of the United States and of western civilization from the past into the near future. In her prospectus, America is never politically or culturally stable. It is instead precarious in the past and doomed in the future. The causes of this are the use of slavery and its heirs, capitalism and monopoly capitalism by America's founders. In this setting of disintegrating nations Butler's stories propose that sex remains a powerful drive. The lust for power precipitates a maelstrom of violence. Nevertheless, in this chaos hope persists, and those who hope with strength find endurance and love. All of Butler's stories are testaments that love is at the center of human meaning.
1. How persuasive is Lauren's Earthseed philosophy? How is it like and different from the Bible?
2. How does the excerpt from Luke 8: 5-8 with which the novel ends convey a meaning of Parable of the Sower?
3. How convincing is Butler's representation of the love between eighteen-year-old Lauren and fifty-seven-year-old Taylor Bankole?
4. What are the conditions of parenting and children in Parable of the Sower? Are they more or less elaborately attended to in the novel?
5. Bauren is closest to two men much older than she, her father and Taylor Bankole. If Butler must put a love relationship in this novel, how is this one between her and Bankole better than any other?
6. Lauren is psi sensitive to the feelings of other. If she did not possess this trait, would it be more difficult for her to maintain her integrity?
7. The essential tenet of Earthseed is that "God is change." Does the text of Earthseed need to be interpolated as it is as chapter headings, as well as being created in the story?
8. Lauren's mother was a teacher. Her father was a minister. They account for her extraordinary love of reading, writing, and thinking. What theory of education is represented in this novel?
9. Parable of the Sower ends with the survivors setting up life in the country. Does Butler believe an agrarian culture is better than an urban one?
10. How plausible is Butler's prediction that American civilization will fail so badly (inflation at 1000%) in the early twenty-first century?
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