Study Guide

Parable of the Sower Chapter 18

By Octavia E. Butler

Chapter 18

Sunday, August 8, 2027

  • Lauren's group takes a day of rest at a park area on the beach.
  • Lauren talks to the locals, who say some parts of the park have been destroyed by the pyro drug addicts who are painting their faces.
  • Lauren makes notes about the area. Water is expensive, some dead bodies are lying around, and there's a store for resupplying. They all go to the store and buy some supplies.
  • At the park, Travis asks Lauren if she believes in her Earthseed verses. She says yes, and he objects that she just made it up. She replies that it's more like analyzing or describing the world than inventing fiction.
  • Travis also objects that Change is an idea, not a god, person, or intelligence. Lauren says change is a truth, and Harry backs her up by comparing the God is Change idea to the second law of thermodynamics. Travis is familiar with the idea, having been taught to read and write by his mother, who snuck him books from the man she worked for.
  • Travis talks about his past. He worked as a gardener-handyman for the same man his mother worked for, married another worker there—that's Natividad—and left after the boss started to creep on her.
  • The group continues to discuss Earthseed. Lauren says the religion isn't for worshiping supernatural authority figures, but for dealing with ongoing reality. Worship is only useful if it steadies people who also take action to resolve their problems.
  • Lauren says realizing the power of Change can be comforting, and people can shape God too.
  • Lauren reflects that she'd like to draw all of these people into her religion. They could be the beginning of her Earthseed community.
  • Lauren tells the inquisitive Travis more of her Earthseed ideas, including the destiny—to take root among the stars, to go beyond Mars to other star systems. He finds her crazy, but in an admiring rather than a ridiculing way. He keeps asking her questions about Earthseed, and she admires his persistence. Questions are good.

Sunday, August 15, 2027

  • Lauren now thinks that Travis is her first convert, and Zahra her second.
  • Zahra says she doesn't care about outer space, but she likes the idea of building a community where people take care of each other.
  • Lauren thinks Zahra should try to find more people to join Earthseed as they travel north. They might have to fight to survive, but she believes they can find an isolated place to live on, where they can provide services such as education.

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