Character Analysis: Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep

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In Phillip Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, one of the main characters, Rick says this quote after he had previously “retired” three androids and needed to buy a living goat to reestablish his empathy. This quote shows the struggle Rick has with dealing with the aftereffects of sympathizing with androids and questions his reasons on why he views that empathy as being wrong. My question is does he need this animal to remind him what their empathy is supposed to be? Perhaps, he wants this animal to be the source of his empathy, giving him a clear sign that empathy can only exist with animals and humans as he was taught. What is so interesting about this passage is that he uses the word “had to” in referring to buying the animal, claiming …show more content…

He exhibits compassion for Luba, even buying her a book during the last minutes her life, yet his empathy does not cause action to come from him. He does not personally retire Luba; he still allows her to die. Overall, he hardly displays empathy in this book, but his vital moments of doing so reside with androids. But yet, he believes that he needs an animal. He seems to have the capacity for empathy based on his interactions with androids, but needs this living animal, a symbol of his society’s empathy, as a way to stabilize himself. He connects empathy with a living animal and needs one, otherwise, he cannot continue. An interesting choice of words that Phillip Dick makes is that Rick does not say that he couldn’t continue with bounty hunting if he didn’t have an animal, Rick only says “go on,” which raises this question on whether he meant only in bounty hunting or did he mean in all aspects of his life. The latter seems the best one to conclude to because Rick seemed so dazed because of the entire situation with his interactions with the androids, that I do not know if he knew how to function without this animal in his …show more content…

He decides that he must dissuade that side of him to stop, and he is hoping that getting an animal will do that. His empathy does not stop him from doing the actions of a bounty hunter, just merely causes him to question it. Even in this passage, he continues to use the word “retiring” when referring to murdering the androids, which shows how deeply conditioned he is to begin with. Even with the empathy he felt, he still uses the language that dehumanizes them. He does not question the standards of empathy placed on him about humans and animals nor knows how to react to feeling even the slightest bit of empathy for androids. Additionally, he does not actually question why he has just a negative reaction to empathizing with androids; he just wants to remove it from himself. That is why Rick is such a complex character in the sense of the lack of his own understanding the empathy he is feeling, yet he does not innately change his actions because of his own feelings. This book obviously questions the standards of empathy and who deserves it. This is the crucial aspect to why this book is important, and understanding that Rick has empathy but refuses to act on such empathy is a key aspect to relating how his rejection and inaction towards fixing the issues surrounding empathizing with androids. I believe this to be because he has been taught that empathy should only exist for animals and humans, and he wants to

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