Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower

The Parable of the Sower is a novel set in California in 2024-2027. It is the near future where Butler envisions a gated society in the fictional town of Robledo. This science fiction novel has a young black woman, Lauren, as a protagonist.

In the excerpt the themes of afrofuturism are present in Lauren wanting to run away and starting her own religion but still facing obstacles she would have faced in today’s day and age. The title of the novel is a biblical reference to a story told by Jesus. In his story, he illustrates that different believers hear the word of God while some sprout and blossom not all of them do. This ties to the plot since Lauren wants to run away and start her own religion and in order to do that she needs to gain followers. The fact that the setting is in the future but still based on something in the past such as a story from Jesus shows afrofuturistic themes. We can see in the excerpt during the beginning of her journey where she gets dismissed by her father due to her being young. She has suggestions of people having an emergency plan however, her father thinks people are already doing enough to be safe. Although the times are in the future, the past can still be seen as nowadays, teenagers would also not be taken as seriously as adults. Times have changed but it is an new version of the past.

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