Study Guide

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Identity

By Philip K. Dick

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Characters in Do Androids Dream? don't carry the usual character ID cards of "good guy," "bad guy," or "comic relief sidekick." They're fluid concepts, shifting and changing depending on their environment—a lot like regular old people, come to think of it. Future society tries to peg individuals with concrete identities and even speech patterns, like how all the humans in the house say "Hey!" and the androids say "Ho!" But as the longest day of Rick's career continues, the identities of humans and androids begin to seem a lot less important. Maybe androids are human; maybe humans are androids. And maybe it doesn't really matter in the end either way.

Questions About Identity

  1. Which character undergoes the most dramatic shift in identity? Where does he or she start and how does he or she end up?
  2. Which character has the least dramatic shift in identity? Compare this character to the one with the most dramatic shift. What does this tell you about the theme of identity?
  3. Had Luba Luft taken the Voigt-Kampff test, would she have been identified as a human or an android? Why do you think this, and what does it tell you about the differences and similarities between humans and androids?

Chew on This

Rick can be identified as a bounty hunter throughout the novel, but how he defines that identity changes as Rick continues on his quest.

When Isidore pictures a bounty hunter (i.e. Rick), he imagines a mechanical, nightmarish creature. When he sees Baty, he notices the same qualities. These similarities suggest that androids and humans aren't so different, after all.

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