Study Guide

Parable of the Sower Community

By Octavia E. Butler

Community

In Parable of the Sower, a big part of Lauren Olamina's plan for living according to her own religion is to establish her own community. She doesn't have to wait long for the chance to put her ideas into action. Once her own hometown Robledo is destroyed, she has to migrate north as a refugee, and on the journey she attracts followers who eventually help her establish the first Earthseed community: Acorn.

Questions About Community

  1. What's the difference between community and family? Lauren has a family up until Robledo is destroyed, and she starts building her own community not too long after that. Is one preferable to the other? In what ways do the two concepts overlap, and in what ways do they differ?
  2. When Lauren first leaves Robledo, she regards strangers with suspicion, but as time goes on, she becomes more welcoming toward them. Is either of these mindsets more practical and realistic than the other? What causes her to shift from the earlier perspective to the later one?
  3. If Acorn is the definition of a community, does Olivar count as a community, too? If Acorn is the model, what are the criteria by which we could decide if a certain place—such as Olivar—counts as a community? What advantages would Olivar have compared to Acorn? What disadvantages?

Chew on This

Contributing to a community is one of the best ways to help yourself survive.

Community is overrated; there are plenty of other good ways to survive on your own.

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