Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep Analysis

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The post-apocalyptic future in Phillip K. Dick’s novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, is set in a science-fiction world. It functions by dehumanizing people through institutionalized dependency and a false sense of connectedness, while alienating androids for their inhuman qualities. Dick uses this dichotomy to inspire his readers to consider both what it is that makes us human, as well as what it is that makes us not. The book is rife with irony and social satire. The protagonist, Rick Deckard, is a bounty hunter on a mission to wipe out rogue androids. He uses a peculiar contraption called a Voigt-Kampff test which supposedly measures the empathetical response to multiple questions, thus proving ones humanity. The Voigt-Kampff test …show more content…

As Rick observes, “The tyranny of an object […] It doesn't know I exist. Like the androids, it [has] no ability to appreciate the existence of another” (Dick 42). That said, Dick has created a plethora of ambiguity around this concept. On Mars, for instance—where everyone is gifted with an android servant, the humans will sometimes take one as a mistress. The human androids, unlike the electric sheep, are somewhat aware of their surroundings, as can be seen when Roy leads an android revolt and escapes to Earth. The androids themselves feel as if they are inferior to humans, but does this mean that they are without empathy? Various technology has enabled the people to access empathy on a deeper level, but that shouldn't rule out all other forms of emotion. As Irmgard says, “It’s that empathy […] isn’t it a way of proving that humans can do something that we can’t do? Because without the Mercer experience, we just have your word that you feel this empathy business, this shared, group thing” (Dick 209-210). Irmgard is Roy’s lover, and another escaped android from Mars. Her point resonates with the overarching ambiguity of manufactured empathy. After all, it is ignoble to suggest that your own empathy is more valid and worthy than another’s, even if that creature is manufactured

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