The novel Parable of the Sower

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Across the world, change is regarded as inevitable and impersonal and can occur throughout one’s life. People often believe that change is the only constant in life, but most individuals do not have to be at the mercy of exhibiting change. In one’s lifetime, an individual can experience change from a child to an adult, with changes in character. On the other hand, people can change their ways of life as an example of success in life. In addition, most governments keep on changing its form of governance to suit the larger population and to improve their day-to-day lives. Ideally, change has created a new world, which is the primary goal of every science fiction writer. In Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, the author invites the readers in a world of imagination as a crafting narrative that brings to life a previously unseen reality. The authors’ world centres on the forces of imagination and religion, emphasizing the world of utopia. The author uses a change motif to place a spotlight on the ability to remove an individual from an old way of being to give life to something new that was non-existent in the previous life. Change is instigated by imagination and religion as two forces, which runs throughout the novel. It is, therefore, evident that Octavia Butler’s characters aspire to establish what change is through connections between imagination and religion, as suggested in Jeffrey Kripal’s writings. Thus, the paper seeks to examine the recurring motif of change that runs throughout the novel Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler and how it shapes individual lives.

The novel Parable of the Sower maintains the theme of change through its characters led by Lauren Olamina. The author’s treatment of the change as a concept helped many critics to locate the most accessible basis for examining politics during that century. The novel spans a timeframe of over sixty-five years that is from 2024 to about 2090, which revolves around Lauren Olamina as the central character in her attempt as a young African American woman to overcome the loss of her family after the destruction of her home in Robledo. Despite her effort to be seen as personal, her central attempt was to form a new community that will primarily be based on a new understanding of the collective existence. It aimed at accepting the fact that the post-apocalyptic regime that surrounded them lacked stability or permanence. The newly formed community centres on the expression that “God is Change,” which formed the philosophical cornerstone of the quasi-religious system established by Lauren.

Importantly, Lauren represents the dynamic and untapped futurity of her new religious possibilities, while Reverend Olamina represents the old and static life of the baptismal Christianity. Despite the different representation the two characters have, Earthseed seems to encourage all of them to realize that their capabilities can significantly contribute to change as an embody. In this case, the author depicts change as a representation of a multitude of phenomena concerning the existing religion. Therefore, the author of the novel Parable of the Sower uses change motif as a primary subject of Earthseed, its goal, and as a necessity to Earthseed. As a reader, one can deduce that the potentiality of Earthseed to become a primary force for change is demonstrated through Lauren, who seems to imagine it to be.

On the other hand, Lauren’s mission through her religious movements that works without her imagination tends to be reduced to just being a product of the dying present, which she is part of despite the foreseen changes. Interestingly, her passion and aim of leaving Earth through Earthseed are considered as imagination, which, according to her, is something that she cannot speak about with any form of certainty. She says, I am Earthseed. Anyone can be. Someday, I think there will be a lot of us. And I think we’ll have to seed ourselves farther and farther from this dying place” (Butler 78). According to her statement, it is quite evident that Lauren kept imagining the capabilities that her religion can attain a lot despite the uncertainties, thus representing change as a motif in the novel.

Besides, the character of Lauren Olamina represents the theme of change because she keeps on wrestling with how to create an ideal future, despite the undesirable past and present that are not consistent. Through her efforts in creating Earthseed as a community religion, the theme of change becomes evident in the novel. For the readers, it should be understood that the central belief of the created religion by Lauren means that things must change. According to Lauren, “All that you touch You Change. /All that you Change Changes you. /The only lasting truth Is Change. /God Is Change” (Butler, 3). To her, change is exalted as a similar way of understanding God, thus the need for change as a force. Earthseed, as a created religion, is founded in the principle of change, which is also symbolized by the connection between Lauren and her father.

As mentioned earlier, Lauren’s created religion Earthseed is the central principle that God is change, which is quite different from what Christianity depicts it as providing a false sense of hope against the chaotic and brutal reality of life. Lauren is the founder of the new religion, and She expects her followers to accept change because it is inevitable despite being destructive. Still, they seem to have the power to shape everything. In her view, Lauren believes that her religion provides a more real and tangible sense of hope when compared to Christianity as a religion. Therefore, it is quite evident that the source of hope does not come from God directly as per the Earthseed, but rather from the people, who accept the inevitable change and further chose to pursue rather compassionate and constructive ways of life.

What is evident in the novel is the fact that the author makes it apparent that Lauren is an advocate of change as a motif. The author puts the protagonist, Lauren, into drastic situations in which she strives to find her unique solution, coming out successfully. This is evident in the novel when Lauren rejects the traditional religion because she sees no relevance in a belief system that primarily focuses on the Christian God that is based on her experience. As a result, change is seen as the one constant in life because she observes that everything in the universe seems to change. Therefore, the author gives the readers an ultimatum that people can choose to accept change and work with it or resist it with a hope of understanding that things might carry on the way they have always have done.

Conclusively, The Parable of the Sower, written by Octavia Butler, plays a significant role in merging imagination and religious influences. The basis of the text is to examine how imagination interfaces with the reality that affects change. Indeed, the fact that the protagonist, Lauren, faces with her community in the span of the novel is that there is no utopia on earth, which might not also exist anywhere else in the world. Therefore, characters in the book only strive for change, which is seen as an alternative to the current and existing iteration of society.

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