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Imittleman's picture

 Over fall break, I read

 Over fall break, I read Parable of the Sower

I'm kind of divided when it comes to Parable of the Sower.  (Many spoilers ahead)

I half liked it, half didn't.  I didn't like it for a few reasons.  At times it felt like Earthseed came dangerously close to being cult-like.  (Or heading in that direction)  In near apocalyptic times, it makes sense that people would experience religious extremes: either they go from a staunch believer to a non-believer or transition from a non-believer into a believer.  Or switch belief systems, kind of like Lauren did.  (Drastic times call for drastic changes?) However, I definitely saw the possibility of "Earthseed" developing into something questionable.  Lauren was so invested in her religion (understandably so, I guess she did create it) and unwilling to find fault with it.  And most other characters just kind of went with Earthseed, no questions asked, despite their prior disillusionment towards other religions (except Allie, I guess).  The only one who logically opposed it was the old man and even he gave in eventually merely because he was attracted to her.  

It's not really the ideas behind Earthseed that bother me as much as the religious aspect.  Why create a "religion" behind change?  Why not use that as basis for general political structures/community and not give it a context of worship?  Octavia Butler commented at the end that she believed Lauren could gain a godlike status towards the end of her life (like Jesus?) because of those who misinterpreted her religion.  Isn't that allowing her religion to take the same course as the others she so vehemently opposed?  Doesn't calling it "religion" eventually demand that "mystical weirdness" Bankole talked about?  I think there are a lot of problems with how she's putting forth her ideas.  But I do see the importance of change and I do agree, no matter what, change happens.  But could there be away to have an awareness of that, an understanding of it, without forming a religion around it?  Maybe, also, this means that when it comes to trying to change something as fundamental as a belief system, it's not so easy.  And it's super easy for it to fall back into what it was: standard religion.  The structure of religion in particular seems to be something so essential to human life that it's difficult to alter, despite even Lauren's best efforts.  

Definitely an interesting read.


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