Kiet Dang Hum 128 December 1, 2017 Parable

Kiet Dang

Hum 128

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December 1, 2017


Parable of
the Sower

The book Parable of the Sower introduces
a fifteen-year-old
girl named Lauren Olamina, the African-American daughter of a Baptist minister.
Lauren lives in a community that is surrounded by walls near Los Angeles called
Robledo. These walls were built to keep the poor homeless, and gangs out from
the community. Many people outside these walls are driven start fires and cause
trouble due to a drug called pryo. Lauren is a unique character that has a
power called hyperempathy, it is the ability to feel other people
pain and their emotions. The book states that Lauren got her hyperempathy from
her mother, who was addicted to a drug called Parateco that is a mind-altering
drug while pregnant. Unfortunately, after giving birth to Lauren, her mother
past away. When Lauren are aware of her power, she regards to her ability as a
sickness, and weakness rather than a superpower. Her father also agree that it
is a sickness, insisted Lauren to keep her hyperempathy syndrome as a secret. In
the book, they are living in a world of widespread suffering, and Lauren
ability to feel the pain of others definitely help her share other people
emotions as well as pain. Because of her syndrome, Lauren is vulnerable to people
who are sick, dying, or hurt, as she will share their pain and will be unable
to defend herself from it. In Lauren world, she perceives the world differently
than other people around her. She is able to see the dark reality of what the
world has really become. However, it is debatable if this power made her
stronger, and whether or not it made her violent. Even though Lauren possesses
hyperempathy, it does not stop her from seeking a perfect world with a new
religion for the human race which she later called it Earthseed.

the book, there are several instances where she expresses her hyperempathy
syndrome and its debatable whether or not it made her stronger. In the book,
Lauren states “brought it
down with all my strength on the back of the intruder’s head. And I brought
myself down” (188). This was after
she tried to help Harry by throwing a rock at the attacker and she hurt herself
afterwards due to her hyerpempathy. It definitely made her vulnerable when she
injures someone as it reflects the same pain on her. This portrayed a sense of
weaknesses that Lauren possesses due to her syndrome. Another example from the
text is when Harry asked Lauren “What if I broke my arm? And Lauren responded “then
I might not be much of good to you” (193). The syndrome definitely made her
weaker physically. Despite the syndrome being portrayed as her weakness, I
believe that it helped her grow. Although hyperempathy put Lauren in physical
pain whenever it occurs, it definitely made her stronger mentally. An example
from the book is when she states “if everyone feels other people pain, it would
make the world a better place as no one wants to feel pain. But if everyone could feel everyone else’s pain, who
would torture? Who would cause anyone unnecessary pain? I’ve never thought of
my problem as something that might do some good before, but the way things are,
I think it would help. I wish I could give it to people” (Butler 115).
Hyperempathy definitely made her stronger and stronger every time she experiences
others people pain. It gave Lauren a deeper understanding of people emotions
and pain which help her connects with other and gain their trust easier. 

discussion regarding her hyperempathy is whether or not it made her violent. Lauren’s
hyperempathy syndrome being violent which Lauren has justified by saying “I had
kill a man. He wasn’t a sharer of pain, pain was the evil. Death was the end of
pain” (Butler 198). Some may describe her as violent but it can ultimately be a
good thing. All life is valuable and though Lauren killed a dog, she “had felt
its pain” (Butler 46). Lauren was able to understood the dog’s pain and knew its
pain due to her hyperempathy syndrome. She describes the feeling as unbearable,
it got to the point that she had to take its life to no longer feel its aches
just as she did with the man she killed. Lauren is definitely violent but she
justified herself with the hyperempathy syndrome. She is violent because she is
able to feel other pain and agony, and she is doing it out of her intent to
help just like when she kills the dog. She killed it because she was able to
feel the dog pain and suffering and want to free the dog from it.

            Lauren and her unique
ability hyperempathy made the read very interesting. Although the hyperempathy
is clearly science fiction, humanity have their own version hyperempathy which
is called empathy. Although it has distinct differences, they share many
similarities. Although empathy is not as strong as hyperempathy, it allows
people to connect with each other emotionally and physically and I believe this
is what Octavia Butler was trying to convey. If everyone could feel each other
pains, it would stop people from hurting each other and creates a better place
like what Lauren called Earthseed.