Gardner's Reviews > Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
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Mar 04, 2012


Written in the late 1960’s, the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep portrays a bounty hunter living in a post apocalyptic world faced with challenges that force him to rethink his place in society. It is a biting critique and analysis of society and the western culture in which it was based. Like 1984, Androids manages to create a compelling story with a relatable protagonist while simultaneously making a commentary on society and modern culture.
Androids is an ageless book because the main issues will never go away and will continue to be relevant for decades to come. The book focuses on the fear of change in society and how people react when challenged with something that affects their view on the world. When Isidore realizes Buster is an android, all that he has known in his life is shattered. The comfort of Buster Friendly is over and he is faced with the cold reality of life.
Similar to 1984 the novel is a glaring critique of humanities use of technology and the dangers with becoming too attached and dependent on it. The mood organ is a perfect analogy to how lazy we have come as human beings. Instead of finding inner happiness or success from personal achievements, we now relay on medicine to make us feel “right.” Whether they are antidepressants or uppers, society has become so dependent on outside factors to make us normal that it’s easy to lose sight of what’s real and fake.
The idea of an android is a perfect analogy to what we have become. People have become extensions of their technology; you are only as relevant as the newest technological advancement. Computers that predict what you are searching for, phones that think for you… The list goes on and the future is limitless in a culture where nothing is enough and we are constantly trying to outdo ourselves. If previous generations were to look at us now, they probably would have a difficult time differentiating people because we all relay so heavily on technology to define who we are.
Postmodern literature constantly confronts the issue of individualism and the individuals’ place in society and culture. Through the establishment of a dystopian environment, the story is able to take on a surreal side, with Dick being able to convey his point in whatever way necessary. The post apocalyptic setting is perfect for this type of analytical literature because it enables the author to have complete control on creating the environment while maintaining a relatable “modern” feel.
Written in a time where there was incredible social change going on, the novel confronts these ideas. The 1960’s saw some of the most extensive and complete social revolutions in western culture. With woman’s rights and the civil rights movement happening at similar times, it was an age of old traditions versus new ideals and morals. In the novel Androids, the bounty hunters are trying to suppress the androids from establishing themselves in society and taking places as citizens. This “controlled mayhem” is similar to how police forces and generally whites in power tried to keep society “separate but equal,” a ploy that was destined to fail.
Like many writers before him, Dick used Androids as a means of warning future generations of the pitfalls and dangers of humanity and modern culture. Like Twain and Orwell before him, Dick relies heavily on the use of symbolism and analogies as a persuasive technique. It’s easy to sympathies for Rick because of his insecurities and confusion, yet his actions should make the reader despise him. It is the author’s ability to make you feel for the bounty hunter that is the true magic of this book. The reader is forced to confront the idea of social norms and how they shape society and how we think.
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