Electric Sheep Themes

801 Words4 Pages
There are a few themes often associated with dystopian literature, like survival, isolation and extreme government control. In the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick, empathy is one of the most significant themes which is considered atypical for a dystopian novel. In this book, the world is under nuclear fallout and the majority of civilization has colonized to other planets. Anyone left on Earth is advocated to emigrate, and upon doing so, is rewarded with an android servant. These androids are intelligent and appear to be human, but their one defect is that they lack the ability to feel basic human emotions like remorse and empathy. Rick Deckard, the novel’s protagonist, is a bounty hunter who retires androids that have escaped to Earth. To differentiate between humans and androids, Rick uses an empathy-based test called the Voigt-Kampff Test. At the beginning of the book, it seems as if empathy and the religion Mercerism, are the only shreds of light still on Earth. As the book progresses, the reader begins to acknowledge empathy to be a part of the dystopia itself because it’s…show more content…
The end of the novel shows Iran, Rick’s wife, planning to take care of his electric toad by feeding it special food. Iran is present seldom, (and Rick doesn’t think about her very much when he’s away) but she shows the most consistent empathy. In the very first page, Iran expresses that she believes that Rick is a murderer of, “Just those poor andys” (4). She also tells Rick that she can feel the emptiness in not just their apartment building, but the whole world. She set’s their Penfield Mood Organ to “self-accusatory depression” (4). Although Iran isn’t very important to the plot, I think she shows a gleam of hope for Earth. She shows what the idea of empathy should actually appear as, and not just the highly thought of
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