Study Guide

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Perseverance

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There's a lot to look forward to in the future. The iPhone 96 will come out, Iron Man 11 will be released, and civilization will be destroyed. Fun stuff like that. The remains of civilization's structures and innovations will pollute the landscape, the atmosphere will become an irradiated wasteland, death will be the only conceivable outcome for anyone experiencing this literal hell on earth, and Brad Pitt will find no miracle cure in the third act. What a downer. Yet the human and android characters of Do Androids Dream? persevere. Like Wilbur Mercer, they keep climbing their personal mountains despite knowing they will later fall. Why? For Luba Luft, it's trying to be human and sustain art in a decaying world. For Roy Baty, it's survival. Isidore is seeking an end to his isolation, and Rick… well, we don't want to give too much away, now do we?

Questions About Perseverance

  1. Does any character's perseverance free them from the death and decay of the world? If so, who and how do they manage? If not, then why do you suppose it's important that no one escape?
  2. Rick is one perseverant guy, coming close several times to just giving up and dropping dead. At the end of the novel, do you think Rick can keep on keeping or is his ability to persevere against the reality of his situation done for? Explain your answer.
  3. Not counting Rick, who do you think is the most persevering character in the novel? You can pick android or human. Where do you see this character's perseverance and why is it important in understanding this theme?
  4. On the other hand, who is the least persevering character in the novel? Where do you see this character calling it quits, and why is it important to our understanding of this theme in the novel?

Chew on This

Because the androids are machines, they have much more perseverance than humans. They'll keep on going until someone flips their switch—or maybe even longer, with the right batteries.

In Mercerism, perseverance as an individual is impossible. Only the perseverance of the group—or, shall we say, the species—has a chance of success.

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