Study Guide

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Chapter 18

By Philip K. Dick

Chapter 18

  • Pris sends Isidore to pick up her stuff while the androids huddle around the television to watch Buster Friendly and his Friendly Friends.
  • Isidore feels useful for the first time in his life, although he does wonder if there is a hint of exploitation in the relationship. Um, you think?
  • He finds a spider. This is a super-big deal because spiders are supposed to be extinct, and this little guy didn't get the memo.
  • Isidore rushes upstairs to show his roomies what he found.
  • Pris takes a look at the spider and thinks maybe it doesn't need all those legs to get around. Irmgard suggests they cut off four, since this species is clearly being greedy in the legs department.
  • Isidore begs them to stop, but his pleas fall on deaf circuitry.
  • On television, Buster Friendly is in the middle of his exposé, showing proof-positive that Wilbur Mercer is an actor and his world a bunch of sound-stage fakery.
  • Irmgard says this means empathy is just an empty concept with no reality behind it.
  • She then helps Pris cut off the spider's remaining legs, proving that a spider can indeed walk on fewer than eight legs, albeit awkwardly and (we suppose) with tremendous pain, but proving it nonetheless.
  • Isidore is in shock, and Pris believes this has to do with the revelation that Mercer is a fake, not even considering the spider.
  • Isidore snatches up the spider and drowns it in the sink.
  • He then goes into a depressed rage, breaking everything in the apartment while hallucinating that the word is crumpling around him.
  • He discovers the mutilated spider crawling across his foot. With the spider alive, Isidore realizes that Mercer must be near.
  • Sure enough, Mercer arrives, and Isidore asks if he really is a fraud. Mercer admits that he is a phony but says it really doesn't matter because, after all, both he and Isidore are still here.
  • He hands Isidore the spider, but now it has all of its legs back.
  • The alarm sounds, pulling Isidore out of his dream/hallucination/revelation/we don't know what it is.
  • The bounty hunter has entered the building.