Study Guide

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Chapter 5

By Philip K. Dick

Chapter 5

  • Rick attaches a biosensor onto Rachael's cheek and shines a sharp pinpoint of light into her eye. He explains that the test will measure her responses to a variety of questions. And time is a factor.
  • Rachael guesses, correctly, that her verbal responses count for nothing and nada. It'll be the way her body responds that truly counts.
  • Rick asks her a series of questions dealing with various social situations—most involve, in some manner, a dead animal. (Check out our "Symbols, Imagery, Allegory" sections for Voigt-Kampff and Animals for more on why this is important.)
  • Rick proclaims her an android, but Eldon assures him she is 100%, genuine human being. Her empathic handicap is the result of growing up on the spaceship Salander 3 and learning about Earth through library tapes.
  • Rachael and Eldon both suggest the possibility that Rick could retire a person with this faulty test.
  • Realizing he was set up for failure, Rick packs up to leave, but the Rosens aren't done yet.
  • They offer him a deal: They'll give him the owl, one Scrappy by name, if he keeps quiet about the Voigt-Kampff's failure and carry on with his work.
  • But the way Rachael refers to the owl as "it" gives Rick an idea.
  • He tells Rachael that his briefcase is made of babyhide and notices that her horrified response is just a little too late.
  • He asks Eldon whether Rachael even knows she is an android.
  • As for the owl, it's artificial too. Eldon says there are no more owls.
  • Rick heads back to the hovercar parked on the roof. He's now come up against a Nexus-6 and knows the Voigt-Kampff empathy test works on them.
  • Time to earn his pay.