Study Guide

Parable of the Sower Chapter 17

By Octavia E. Butler

Chapter 17

Tuesday, August 3, 2027

  • Walking the roads, Lauren's group sees a fire, and they wonder if the painted faces are at it again.
  • At night, they make camp and discuss whether they should go scavenge at the fire. They decide they need to stay where they are and rest.
  • Harry goes off to find a better site for camp, and Lauren thinks about how she showed him her Earthseed verses earlier in the day.
  • Nevertheless, Harry still doesn't quite trust Lauren after she killed the attacker in what he sees as cold blood. Lauren thinks time might bring them closer together.
  • The three move their campsite to the location Harry has found.
  • Zahra says she'll take the first watch, but she ends up having sex with Harry while Lauren is sleeping. That leaves the camp unguarded. Not good.
  • After Harry and Zahra finish, Harry takes watch, but he falls asleep. Even worse.
  • Lauren wakes Harry and gets his gun and takes over the watch. He's embarrassed that he fell asleep.

Wednesday, August 4, 2027

  • The group stops at a commercial water station to refill their water containers. The stop is dangerous, since beggars and thieves are hanging around the place to harass the paying customers.
  • The three see a pair of predators—Lauren calls them coyotes—steal some water from a woman and a man traveling together with a baby.
  • Lauren trips one of the coyotes and scares them both off. The travelers get their water back.
  • Harry is surprised that Lauren is suddenly helping strangers, but he approves.
  • Lauren thinks back to her talk with Zahra this morning during her reading lesson. She had warned Zahra not to have sex with Harry when she was supposed to be on watch, and she tells her to instead just ask her to give them some privacy.
  • Zahra agrees.
  • Lauren worries that Zahra might get pregnant, adding to their difficulties traveling north.
  • The couple Lauren helped walks near her group. Lauren thinks they might make potential allies.

Thursday, August 5, 2027

  • Lauren's group goes to wade in the Pacific Ocean. None of them have ever seen it before, and none of them can swim. They find a place to camp on the beach.
  • The couple Lauren helped at the water station is camping nearby. Lauren invites them to join with her group as allies, since they're all mixed-ethnicity couples.
  • The strangers are suspicious, but Lauren thinks they might join in the future.

Friday, August 6, 2027

  • At night on the beach, dogs attack during Lauren's watch. They stop at the camp of the mixed couple Lauren invited over.
  • Remembering the baby, Lauren shoots one of the dogs, which makes the other animals flee.
  • Grateful, the couple joins up with Lauren's group.
  • The names of the mixed family are Travis Charles Douglas and Gloria Natividad Douglas. The baby is named Dominic, also called Domingo.
  • The newcomers give Lauren's group gifts of milk chocolate with almonds.
  • The newcomers introduce themselves. They're going to Seattle, where Travis has an aunt they can stay with. They're looking for work that pays money.
  • Harry accidentally reveals to the new couple that Lauren is female, not male.
  • Lauren tells the newcomers that they'll be stronger as a group of five adults.
  • The woman, Natividad, seems to agree, but Travis is still noncommittal, perhaps embarrassed that Lauren, a female, protected his family instead of him.
  • Lauren reads Earthseed verses to her newly enlarged group, picking soft, non-preachy passages that are easy to listen to.

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