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Parable

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Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower as a dystopian novel
Parable of the Sower is a science fiction novel that discusses issues of faith, hope,
religion, and change at a time in an apocalyptic American overcome by climatic change and
social inequality. The author sets the novel in an apocalyptic world in the future (Butler). It
portrays suffering, poverty, racism, despair, and injustice in society and the lives of the
characters in this horrific and saddening imagined state (Butler). This setting attracts the opinion
that the novel is dystopian. However, over the decades, some people have challenged the
classification of Parable of the Sower as dystopian. These people argue that the novel is about
more than just its setting. That it incorporates aspects of hope and optimism, thus being a utopian
novel. This paper analyzes the novel based on context to facilitate classification. The primary
argument is that in Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, Utopianism is only a mindset in the
novel’s dystopia.
Different factors influence opinion on the categorization of literary works as utopian or
dystopian. Given the context of the novel and the occurrences Butler describes in it, I argue for
the novel’s categorization as a dystopia. This paper expounds on the reasoning behind this
position. To analyze the novel as utopian or dystopian, it is critical to understand what makes a
particular context utopian or dystopian. Through gaining a better understanding of these two
concepts, it will become clear how the novel fits the dystopia classification.

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In literature, the term dystopian describes societies, countries, or communities in
catastrophic decline. Several features characterize a dystopian society. Some characteristics of
dystopian fiction include loss of individualism, government control, environmental destruction,
and survival. Additionally, it may be characterized by propaganda, restriction of independent
thought, and similar expectations (Seyferth). As it will become evident reading through this
paper, most, if not all, of these characteristics are present in the novel.
Utopia, on the other hand, describes an imaginary society that has desirable and almost
perfect characteristics. Ideally, the perfect society is free of pain, suffering, war, and diseases. It
is the ideal place for its citizens. Some characteristics of a utopian society are free will,
independent thought, and a perfect climate. Essentially, utopian literature ignores all the issues in
reality that need improvement and creates an alternate universe where all these issues are non-
existent, and life is perfect. It is, however, essential to note that creating a utopia, even in fiction,
may not be so easy (Madhusudana). As such, utopian literature may not portray the image of a
perfect world. However, it may showcase applaudable conditions or qualities.
With this understanding of utopia and dystopia, it is now easy to analyze and classify
Parable of the Sower. The first and most important aspect of consideration is the setting of the
novel. In Butler’s novel, the country suffers the devastating effects of climatic change,
capitalistic greed, and huge wealth gaps. These issues draw from the tendencies in society that
could impact the world in the future (Stillman). The conditions have also accustomed the people
to social and racial inequality and illiteracy. It is a menacing world in the future, and the United
States is collapsing. Butler explores life with a backdrop of imminent doom and extinction.
People in the nation suffer from collapsing infrastructure, water scarcity, cannibalism,
hyperinflation, and attacks by wild animals.

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Surname: 1 Student name: Instructor name: Course: Date: Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower as a dystopian novel Parable of the Sower is a science fiction novel that discusses issues of faith, hope, religion, and change at a time in an apocalyptic American overcome by climatic change and social inequality. The author sets the novel in an apocalyptic world in the future (Butler). It portrays suffering, poverty, racism, despair, and injustice in society and the lives of the characters in this horrific and saddening imagined state (Butler). This setting attracts the opinion that the novel is dystopian. However, over the decades, some people have challenged the classification of Parable of the Sower as dystopian. These people argue that the novel is about more than just its setting. That it incorporates aspects of hope and optimism, thus being a utopian novel. This paper analyzes the novel based on context to facilitate classification. The primary argument is that in Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, Utopianism is only a mindset in the novel’s dystopia. Different factors influence opinion on the categorization of literary works as utopian or dystopian. Given the context of the novel and the occurrences Butler describes in it, I argue for the novel’s categorization as a dystopia. This paper expounds on the reasoning behind this position. To analyze the novel as utopian or dystopian, it is critical to understand what makes a particular context utopian or dystopian. T ...
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