Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler – Hyper Empathy Syndrome/ Thinking A

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In Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler, Lauren Olamina has hyper empathy syndrome, an illness that gives her the delusion that she feels both the pain and pleasure of those around her. Why do you suppose it is significant to the story that she has this illness?

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In Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler, why does Jo react so negatively to Lauren’s concerns about being better prepared as a community and as individuals to face crisis? Do you think that Lauren’s ideas, including community night watches, learning to fend for themselves in the wild, studying local wild plant life to see if it can be used for food, are excessively paranoid? Lauren’s father has pointed out that the community as a whole has trouble thinking far ahead and into such sensitive areas. Do you see ways in which people in today’s America are equally unable to think ahead?

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