Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Analysis by Ralph K Jones

Dystopian Literature Review

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?: When Life Loses Meaning

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?: When Life Loses Meaning

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep Novel by Philip K. Dick tells of a bleak world in which the planet Earth has been left to rot after a devastating nuclear war. In the aftermath of the war, most animal species have gone extinct, and people now measure their worth in society by the kind of animals they own. Furthermore, fugitive androids are tracked down by bounty hunters looking to make a quick buck, all so they can purchase exotic animals of their own. The resulting society is one that places conflicting values on life, status, and ambition.

The story of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? follows two main characters: Rick Deckard and John Isodore. Deckard is a bounty hunter who is tasked with eliminating eight recently escaped androids, and Isodore is an invalid who has a job repairing false animals. Their paths converge at the end of the story, but the ways they end up there show a great deal about the society they live in.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? in-depth Review

Deckard first meets with the Rosen Association, the manufacturer of the escaped androids, and runs an empathy test on a female android named Rachel. He is able to confirm that she is an android, and then proceeds onto his first target, whom he destroys after a brief gunfight. He then begins to interrogate his next target, an opera singer named Luba Luft, but he is outsmarted by her and another android working together. He is taken away to a police station to be killed.

“You will be required to do wrong no matter where you go. It is the basic condition of life, to be required to violate your own identity.”

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

However, when Deckard reaches the station, he learns from the police captain that nearly everyone there is an android, including a fellow bounty hunter named Phil Resch. Resch confirms that the police captain is an android and skillfully terminates him. The two bounty hunters both go back to retire Luba Luft, and Resch destroys it without any hesitation or remorse. Deckard administers an empathy test on Resch to determine if he’s an android or not, and surprisingly, he turns out to be human. After Deckard learns about the whereabouts of the last three androids, he sets off to finish the job, but not before having a brief sexual encounter with Rachel.

Empathy, evidently, existed only within the human community.

While all this was occurring, John Isodore meets a young girl named Pris Stratton who just moved into his vacant apartment complex, and is actually one of the escaped androids that Deckard is hunting. Soon after, the two other androids join her, and set up defences for Deckard’s imminent arrival. The lonely Isodore is excited about making new friends, even if they are androids. However, much to his dismay, Deckard arrives and swiftly kills all three of them. 

Deckard then returns to collect his bounty for the six androids he retired. He uses the money to buy a goat for himself and his wife, but Rachel comes along shortly afterwards and pushes it off the roof. Heartbroken, Deckard drives out into the wastes and finds what he believes to be a real toad, but finds out that it’s just another electric animal. The story ends with him going to sleep while his wife sets up arrangements for the electric toad.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Ralph’s Wrap Up

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?  Ralph’s Wrap Up

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? explores what it means to be alive in a world where life has lost most of its meaning. The distinction between organic and synthetic life has become practically nonexistent, but people still cling to the ideals of a lost world. All that people want out of their lives is to own an animal. Deckard’s primary aspiration is to acquire a real animal to replace his electric sheep, but in order to do that, he has to end “synthetic” lives. Furthermore, even though she was an android, Deckard felt more of a connection to Luba Luft than Phil Resch. Resch was human, but he behaved much more like an android would. Resch’s inability to display empathy prompts one to question if human nature is the real reason behind society’s downfall.

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Read More of Ralph’s Dystopian Reviews:

Brave New World Analysis

1984 by George Orwell Analysis

A Clockwork Orange Analysis

Animal Farm Analysis

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