Study Guide

Parable of the Sower Perseverance

By Octavia E. Butler

Perseverance

All right, so sci-fi heroine Lauren Olamina in Parable of the Sower is a prodigy teen who invents her own religion, founds her own community, and in all kinds of ways is just plain awesome. Don't argue with that, because you can't. But what actually makes Lauren so awesome? Well, one of the major factors is her perseverance. She sticks to her goals and works hard—she even preaches a sermon about the importance of perseverance. She tries to get others to see the importance of hard work and change and problem solving and more—and then when her hometown is destroyed and her family killed off, she just perseveres some more by heading north to save the world.

World, don't mess with Lauren Olamina.

Questions About Perseverance

  1. What's the relationship between perseverance and change? The former is all about sticking to a goal and holding firm for a long period of time, but the latter is about things shifting and not staying stable. How does Lauren manage to exemplify perseverance, flexibility, and adaptability in the face of change?
  2. Who else in the novel perseveres besides Lauren? Consider Zahra or Bankole, for example, or Cory. What's the difference between merely surviving during adversity and actually flourishing or achieving big goals?
  3. What impression does Alicia Leal make on Lauren in terms of perseverance? Why is it such a benefit for Lauren to have Alicia as a role model? Why doesn't she have any other role models?
  4. Consider the sermon about perseverance that Lauren preaches to her Robledo community after her father vanishes. She tells everyone to persevere and stay put, even though she's already made plans to leave. Is it a good sermon? Should Lauren have said something else, or was what she said the right thing to say?

Chew on This

Perseverance is a personal trait that's necessary for success.

Perseverance is something you learn, not necessarily something you're born with.

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