Study Guide

Parable of the Sower Chapter 12

By Octavia E. Butler

Chapter 12

Saturday, November 14, 2026

  • The Garfield family has been accepted at Olivar and will leave next month. Adiós, Garfields.
  • Lauren sees the Garfields' move as illustrative of the principle that God is Change. After all, she and Joanne grew up together, so it's a big change now that Joanne is leaving.
  • Lauren and Joanne talk about the latter's upcoming move.
  • Lauren pokes holes in Joanne's family's plan—their income will drop, for example, and they won't have a yard—but Joanne insists her family will manage. She does admit she's scared.
  • Lauren tells Joanne that she can return to Robledo if things aren't good.
  • Joanne says her boyfriend, Harry Balter, is in Robledo. She tried to talk him into going to Olivar, but he wants to go north instead because he thinks Olivar is a trap.
  • Joanne thinks that heading north is no future—and that Olivar is safer.
  • Lauren believes that security in Olivar is no better than the security Keith found in his urn. But she lies to Joanne about her own plans, not wanting her friend to tattle on her again.
  • Lauren basically says she doesn't know what she'll end up doing, and that if Olivar succeeds, there will be more cities selling themselves off to whoever can buy them.
  • Joanne hears this as more doomsaying and asks Lauren if she remembers telling her about how starving hordes would be coming over the wall and the neighborhood residents would have to run away into the mountains and eat grass. That never happened.
  • Lauren is angered by Joanne's version of their fight, but she feels suddenly sad about Joanne's departure. Lauren tells her friend that she will miss her.

Tuesday, November 17, 2026

  • Now it's Lauren's father who doesn't come home. He was due back in the morning after work at the college. No one knows where he is.
  • Uh oh.
  • Led by Jay Garfield, Lauren and other neighborhood residents travel armed to the college and back, searching side streets and every other place they can think of for her father. But no luck.

Wednesday. November 18, 2026

  • Lauren and other neighborhood residents search for her father again.
  • No dice.
  • Lauren's brother Marcus finds an arm that's been cut off by a sharp knife, but no one is sure whose it is.
  • Jay Garfield takes fingerprints.
  • Then they all hear a man screaming for mercy. Yikes. The voice doesn't sound like Lauren's father's, however.
  • The group finds bones and corpses, but that's it.

Sunday, November 22, 2026

  • It turns out that the fingerprints don't belong to Lauren's father.
  • Lauren doesn't know what to do, and she keeps dreaming of the horrible screaming they all heard. She reflects sadly on the poverty she's surrounded by.
  • Lauren speaks at the church services after Wyatt Talcott and Jay Garfield informally eulogize her father. She thanks everyone for the ongoing efforts to find him and gives a sermon about perseverance from Luke 18:1.
  • The parable concerns a widow demanding justice, and the moral is that persisting isn't always safe, but it's often necessary. Lauren is saying that her community has to continue fighting together to survive, even without her father's guiding presence.
  • Kayla Talcott sings a song about how they shall not be moved, and she later compliments Lauren on her sermon.
  • Others compliment Lauren on her sermon, too, saying that her father would be proud of her. Lauren hopes so, thinking that she did it for him.
  • Lauren knows the event was basically her father's funeral. She thinks the community will be overcome by invaders eventually.

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