Parable of the Sower is science fiction novel that follows Lauren, an African-American teenage girl, who is living in a walled off community in a dystopian America. The situation in this world is grim with large portions of people being homeless and addicted to drugs often leading to violent desperation by these people. This causes communities such as Lauren’s to arm and look out for themselves since the government and police are of little use.

The story is told by Lauren to the reader as entries in her diary. The book is a unique take on the science fiction genre since Butler herself is a female, African-American writer in white, male dominated genre. Butler’s background results in many thematic elements being present in the novel ranging from Afrofuturism to ecocriticism.

This website is dedicated to detailing these thematic elements and give a brief biography on Butler, so that one can better understand who Butler is and what she is trying to tell her readers in Parable of the Sower.

Education

  Origins Education is often defined as the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction or as an enlightening experience. In respect to Parable of the Sower, the theme of education can readily be found within its title. A parable … Continued

Utopia/Dystopia

What Is Utopia and Dystopia? Utopia in its literal form means “no place” (Coates). It was coined in the 16th century by Thomas More, whose intent was to make the term a pun. Phonetically, utopia sounds strikingly similar to eutopia, … Continued

Disability

What is Disability Studies?   “Disability Studies refers generally to the examination of disability as a social, cultural, and political phenomenon. In contrast to clinical, medical, or therapeutic perspectives on disability, Disability Studies focuses on how disability is defined and … Continued

Religion

Entirely contrary to the prevailing religious apathy in modern societies, religion is essential to most of the characters in Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower. This can be largely attributed to the story’s dystopian setting. Under this harsh environment, people … Continued

A world wear all people, of all races get along

Race

In Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, she articulates the idea that racism is a foundation for capitalism. Butler incorporates many ideas that parallel ongoing issues in the world today. She uses several Afrofuturist themes to criticize societal relations within … Continued

Politics & Current Events

Parable of the Sower shows an America that in many ways is similar to our own. Many of its struggles are linked to ours, if greater by far in degree.

Environment

Overview Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower highlights the progression of some of the most important environmental issues currently affecting our world. It is no secret that the industrialization of the planet has negatively affected the Earth’s climate over the … Continued

Violence

Octavia Butler uses the theme of violence throughout the entirety of Parable of the Sower. An effective way to view the violence in this novel is to view it in the perspectives within which Butler positions it: it can be … Continued

Octavia Butler’s Biography

The impact of Octavia Butler’s life and work has paved the way for African American female writers, especially those in the science fiction genre. Butler’s novels and short stories have received recognition through the MacArthur Fellowship, and multiple prestigious writing … Continued

Gender

Octavia Butler’s dystopian novel, Parable of the Sower, describes American society in 2024 and how society has broken down ultimately leading to a mass anarchy and people only trusting one another for protection. Resources are scarce due to a faltering … Continued