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Adapting to Change

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Adapting to Change
In the book Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, adapting to change is the key to survival. The novel begins in Robledo, California, with a young girl Lauren who is the daughter of a Baptist minister in the community. Lauren has a disease called hyper empathy syndrome. She got this from her mother who was addicted to prescription medicines. This disease allows her to feel the pain of others. The major motifs that we see in the book are religion, fire, freedom, community, and adapting to change. The largest theme that we see throughout the entire book is being able to adapt to change. We see this when Lauren has to leave for the first time and is able to adapt to from leftover resources.
Lauren lives with her family in a walled community. On the outside of their community life is terrible. There is no food on the outside that people are always trying to break in to the community and steal food, animals, and just any resources that would be useful for them. The outside is full of drug addicts, diseases, crazy people, and dead bodies in the street. Amy Dunn, a young girl from the community wondered out and got killed instantly. Lauren develops her own belief about God. Her new idea of religion is the idea of God as change, and calls it Earthseed. Lauren knows that the outside is a bad life and saves enough money to put together a survival pack with anything that might be useful to her. Keith, Laurens brother wants to go outside of his community and show his strength to his father. He also isn’t happy because Lauren is able to go out of the community just because she is older. He comes and goes a couple times, each time bringing home valuables. One day he goes out and gets killed. After Keith is killed life in the community start going downhill and begins reaching a crisis point. A few days later Laurens father is killed, his body just ripped into pieces. Seven months later, in July 2027, thieves and pyro addicts, people who want to start fires, overrun Lauren’s neighborhood. While everything burns down Lauren is able to escape shooting one of the pyros in the process. The next morning Lauren goes back to he community to see if she can find any of her family members. She finds a few items of clothing that have not been burned. She puts them and a few other items into her emergency pack. She also takes some outer clothing for Cory, Laurens stepmother, and her brothers. Lauren also finds the money that the family had hidden under a lemon tree in the garden. As she leaves the neighborhood with other scavengers, she sees the corpses of Richard Moss, Robin Balter Michael Talcott and many others. But there is no sign of anyone from her own family. Lauren meets Zahra Moss and Harry Balter at the garage that she’s staying at. Zahra was the wife of Richard Moss. Zahra says that all Lauren's family is dead and she saw them being killed. The three of them get supplies at the store and plan on heading up 101 all the way to the coast of Oregon. This is the first theme that we see in the book, freedom. Lauren takes control of the situation of her neighborhood getting burned down. Since there was no opportunity to improve life there, Lauren knows she has two options either goes to Olivar, a company town, or walk up north and see what happens. Lauren decides that she will go north since she will have the most freedom doing that. The reason that she does this is because According to Earthseed, it would be foolish for people to sit around waiting for God to help them. They must take the initiative themselves and shape their own destiny based on their own efforts. This all comes back to being able to adapt to change for survival.
When Lauren decides to go north she decides that she can make a living teaching people how to read and write. She ends up teaching Zahra how to read and write while they were on watch. A few days after walking they see sight of a beach. There they set-up camp, go into the water, and wash up. Lauren hears on the radio that as a result of the earthquake, the entire Bay Area is in chaos. The next day Lauren wakes up to the sounds of gunfire. No one in Lauren's group is hurt, but Bankole is missing. Lauren goes to look for him, and some minutes later he returns, carrying an injured child whose mother has just been killed. They then reach San Luis Resivior. Lauren chats to Bankole about Earthseed, and she does not worry too much that he does not take it very seriously. Lauren and Bankole end up getting together and making love. The weird think is that Bankole is fifty-seven year old African American doctor, and Lauren is an eighteen-year-old girl. Lauren continues to teach Zahra how to read, and Allie and Jill join in. They could read a little but had never learned to write. There is another discussion about Earthseed, in which even Harry joins in. In September, after over a week of walking, they pass Sacramento. They see human bones on the highway, a big dog with the bloody hand and arm of a child in its mouth, and a group of young teenagers who are roasting a severed human leg. Bankole wants Lauren to leave the group and go with him. He tells her he has a safe haven in the hills on the coast near Cape Mendocino. He owns three hundred acres there, and his sister and her family live there. One night when Jill was on watch two new people slipped into the camp. Overall the group is starting to function more as a community of people committed to taking care of each other in a world in which selfishness and anarchy rule. Two more people join the group: Grayson Mora and his young daughter Doe. Then a gang of seven pyros comes from the highway and attack. Lauren shoots one more and collapses again, feeling the man's pain and death. Throughout this part of the book the theme of community comes up. When there old community burned down they knew that they have to rely on each other to survive and get things done. The entire book is based on weather or not you can survive change. Of course it is not easy but can be done with the hard work of everyone working together. I believe that this is the largest theme in the book because it is always happening weather its from adapting to hot weather from cold weather or adapting with new people around you. This book could be a life lesson on how to survive and what is important when you don’t have much left.
Science fiction books are not usually the type of books that I like to read but Parable of the Sower was an exception. It was very interesting and felt very realistic. What I didn’t like about the book was that it portrayed graphic and violent scenes that I found a bit disturbing. I would definitely recommend this book to a friend whether they liked science fiction or not. What I would tell them is to just watch out for certain scenes in the book that might be a bit graphic or religious. After reading this book…...

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