Study Guide

Parable of the Sower Chapter 16

By Octavia E. Butler

Chapter 16

Monday, August 2, 2027

  • Lauren's experience walking on the freeway all day teaches her that walking hurts. It's not just the blisters and sore feet; she aches all over. Zahra teaches her to suck on seeds to feel less thirsty.
  • Fires are illegal, but the group makes one to eat by. People try to join their camp, but the group gets rid of them, thinking paranoia against strangers will keep them alive.
  • Harry feels they shouldn't have to be so paranoid, but Zahra and Lauren warn him that they're no longer living in the neighborhood, where things were safer and people were more trustworthy.
  • While they were traveling during the day, in fact, the three saw a chubby man get robbed by some kids.
  • Lauren says the three of them are a pack, and everyone else isn't in it.
  • Two big, dirty-looking guys approach their camp and stand by menacingly. Lauren draws her gun and thumbs the safety. The two threats leave.
  • Lauren reflects on how odd it was that her father preached not to kill yet taught her to shoot.
  • Lauren institutes a watch, three hours per person, for when they all sleep.
  • Lauren talks with Zahra about her past with Richard Moss. Zahra was basically a slave who wasn't allowed to use a gun, but she remembers how to shoot, so she can hold watch.
  • Taking watch duty first, Lauren writes in her notebook.
  • Zahra observes and asks Lauren to teach her to read and write. Richard wouldn't let her attend lessons back in the neighborhood.
  • Lauren and Zahra talk about how they didn't get along back in the neighborhood but now do.
  • During her watch, Lauren sees people and dogs moving and hears gunfire. She's worried, but everything turns out okay. She wakes Harry, who holds watch next.
  • During Harry's watch, Lauren wakes up to shouting and gunfire.
  • Harry is losing a fight with someone.
  • Lauren takes a rock and bashes the intruder's head with it.
  • The attack knocks Lauren out due to her hyperempathy syndrome. Once she awakens, she slits the intruder's throat with a knife to finish him off. Wow. She then orders Harry and Zahra to strip the bodies for valuables.
  • After the battle, Lauren tells her two companions about her syndrome. Zahra is supportive and talks about the drugs that mothers used where she grew up. Harry is suspicious of Lauren, unsure whether he can trust her. He quizzes her about her hyperempathy, and she answers.
  • Lauren explains how she had to hide the syndrome back in the neighborhood for self-protection.
  • In response, Harry asks to see some of Lauren's notebook so that he can know the real her.
  • As soon as it's light, Lauren shows Harry the first verse for the first book of Earthseed: The Books of the Living. The verse says that God is Change. She feels trepidation about showing him her true beliefs.

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