- Write a first draft of your thesis statement for the research pa.per on Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower
Submit a document with the first draft of your thesis statement (which can be more than one sentence). Working on ideas for your thesis statement is part of the pre-writing process for the research pa.per on Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower, which will be due on Sunday, December 12.
The thesis statement should present your central argument about the novel based on the research you are conducting. Here are some examples of thesis statements about Parable of the Sower from selected secondary sources:
- From Clara Escoda Agustí’s “The Relationship between Community and Subjectivity in Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower“: “This article focuses on how [Lauren] Olamina counteracts the oppression that the system wields over her as a black woman and how she is able to re-write her own Utopian community’s approach to gender and racial difference, thus creating a community of equals” (352).
- From Marlene D. Allen’s “Octavia Butler’s ‘Parable’ Novels and the ‘Boomerang’ of African American History”: “Butler’s novel series Parable of the Sower (1993) and Parable of the Talents (1998) reflect her emphasis upon asserting an Afrocentric aesthetic in her science fiction worlds. . . . At the same time, Butler uses African American history in the two texts as a synecdoche for the cycling of racism and sexism throughout all of human history. Butler offers the story of Lauren Olamina and Earthseed as a parable for how we might avoid the ‘boomeranging’ of history. Thus, she teaches us as readers both important lessons about history as well as techniques we might use to survive through the impending environmental, societal, and economic crises that are destined to evolve as a result of our current actions (or inactions)” (1354).
- From Madhu Dubey’s “Folk and Urban Communities in African-American Women’s Fiction: Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower“: “In what follows, I treat Parable of the Sower as a lens that clarifies the dangers of advancing folk resolutions to current urban problems. I then go on to examine Butler’s resolution to dilemmas of urban literary representation, which depends on the very same model of organic community that her novel struggles to discredit as an unrealistic and undesirable ideal.”
- From Anna Hilton’s “Making Do with What You Don’t Have: Disabled Black Motherhood in Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents“: “The article analyzes themes of black motherhood through the lens of disability in Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower (1993) and Parable of the Talents (1998). It positions the series’ protagonist, Lauren Olamina, as a maternal figure with a disability, and argues that her experiences reveal how ableism is used to devalue motherhood in the text. The article connects with larger discourse on controlling images about black mothers such as the ‘crack mother,’ a contemporary image with roots in US slavery. It then argues that because of her complex embodiment, Lauren emerges as a strong, black mother figure who births a religion, Earthseed, and carves a space, Acorn, that resists this dominant narrative” (441).
- From Curtis Marez’s “Octavia E. Butler, After the Chicanx Movement”: “As I hope to show, Butler’s Parable of the Sower can be revealingly understood as a post-United Farm Worker (UFW) novel. Which is not to say that the novel references the UFW or the broader Chicano movement; rather, Parable represents the right-wing forces that arose partly in response to the movement. . . . Butler thus extrapolates from her present moment to produce a near-future dystopia where the gains made by the UFW have seemingly been rolled back, unions are nowhere in sight, and Mexican people are vulnerable to racist violence” (755-56).
- From Tom Moylan’s “Octavia Butler’s Parables” in Scraps of the Untainted Sky: “With this performance of genre blurring, she [Butler] generates a counter-narrative in which a diverse group of individuals develops through struggle into a political collective that (at least for-a-while) constitutes a historically and theologically informed utopian alternative to the economic and political power that barely controls this broken society” (223).
For this pre-writing assignment, you do not need to strictly follow MLA guidelines or to include a Works Cited page. However, if you quote or paraphrase text from a secondary source, you should make sure to use quotation marks (around sentences or phrases that someone else wrote) and to cite the source (even if you are just including someone else’s ideas but not their exact words).
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