All in society, regardless of gender, deserves fair treatment. Girls, like men, arguably contribute greatly to the accomplishment of multiple societal goals. To achieve gender equality, it is important to recognize the efforts of all members of society. Primarily, numerous women around the world today have aided civilization in different respects, earning them the title of heroine (Bordo and Susan 123). Female leaders of the group are active and work hard to help others accomplish their goals. Notably, female leaders face a number of obstacles when they carry out their different responsibilities. Therefore, most of them sacrifice a lot so as to achieve their objectives. In essence, they are identified as strong females in the society. Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower has presented the struggles of Lauren Olamina towards helping those in need in the society. However, some people in the society criticized her efforts, but all these did not deter her from accomplishing her mission. This paper, therefore, focuses on the feminist depiction of a female lead according to Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower.

Lauren Olamina is the narrator in the novel Parable of the Sower. According to the novel, Lauren had several quality leadership skills that were required to lead the people in the society. Even though Lauren was young, barely 15 years old, she showed leadership skills that were considered to be appropriate for the leadership role. Lauren, the female lead in the book, took control of the group as she was incredibly strong-willed and had the desired leadership skills. She was not bothered taking the leadership role even though she was a young woman. Because of her quality leadership skills, so many were impressed by her ability to take control of the whole group. However, some people in the group were against her being the leader of the groups.

The argument was that Lauren was a young woman. According to the critics, it was the men’s role to be in the leadership position but not women (Butler and Judith 103). Lauren did not feel discouraged by such arguments and continued with her leadership roles. The scenario presents assumption by some people in the community that there should be no female leads in the society. It is imperative to give women an opportunity to show their leadership skills in the society without criticizing their capabilities. Interestingly, Lauren successfully led the group to the north without fear. Her leadership skills proved that she was a brave woman who strived to accomplish her missions irrespective of adverse comments from a few people in the society. Her age and the quality of her leadership skills is an encouragement to women to be in the forefront fighting hard for their communities without being deterred by criticisms (Baccolini and Raffaella 30).

In the novel Parable of the Sower, Lauren is considered a heroine because she overcame different challenges as a woman to become in a leadership position. Although female education was no highly encouraged, she struggled hard. She was intelligent because she had strived to take a college level course. One of her qualities was that she felt other people’s pain and suffering. A quality that enabled her to intervene whenever other people needed her assistance. Lauren had earlier established that her neighborhood, Robledo, was to be destroyed and came up with plans on how to handle the situation in case it occurred (Agusti and Clara 350). Unfortunately, she lost her entire family in this catastrophe, but the experience did not break her spirit. In her search for better life, she headed north leading her small group including Harry and Zahra. Being visionary and a thinker enabled her to develop leadership skills. Her quality leadership skills were also portrayed when she offered to teach Allie and Jill how to read and write.

Most people in the society depict women as laborers who should not acquire any form of formal education. Arguably, it is the fear of men that educated women would fight for their rights in case they received a formal education. Most fathers would also choose careers for their daughters regardless of the consequences associated with the job. Forcing of daughters into careers, not of their choice is like infringing their rights. Every person should be allowed to make decisions in relation to choosing careers (McRobbie and Angela 59). In the novel Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, both Allie Gilchrist and Jill Gilchrist were not given the opportunity to acquire comprehensive formal education by their father. As siblings, their father forced them into prostitution against their will. Their father failed to acknowledge that it is a right of every child to acquire education regardless of the gender. Additionally, he endangered the lives of her daughters following a wide range of negative consequences of prostitution. Forcing of his daughters into prostitution depicts a society that does not regard the success of women. His decision also illustrates that the society does not give women chance to decide for themselves.

Even after forcing Allie and Jill into prostitution, he beat Allie to death when she gave birth to her firstborn son. Both Allie and Jill had to look for an alternative place where they could stay peaceful (Melzer 120). They had to burn the house and leave for a better place. Fortunately, Lauren and her group came to their rescue, and they all headed north. Lauren and her group’s intervention portrays Lauren as being one who feels the pain of other people and always quick to offer support to those who needed assistance. They both fled their tyrannical father who forcefully introduced them into prostitution. Even if Jill was killed as she attempted to rescue Tori Solis when the group was attacked, her choice to leave her tyrannical father portrays her as a strong woman fighting for her freedom. Her efforts to rescue Tori Solis from the gang of addicts also presents her as a lady who felt others pain and would offer support regardless of the consequences.

The novel Parable of Sower illustrates a community where husbands had full control over their wives. The husbands depict their wives as people who should never question different decisions made by their husbands. It was within the husbands’ powers to dictate the activities that their wives were engaged in doing. Arguably, every person in the society has a right to make personal sound decisions without being coerced. The novel presents Cory Olamina who was a stepmother to Lauren, the female lead. Cory Olamina struggled in her early childhood to acquire formal education even though many people did not acknowledge women’s education (Lacey and Lauren 380). The novel portrays the society as being against female education. Arguably, the society depicted women’s education as an evil motive aimed at demeaning the males in the society.

Regardless of the numerous challenges, Lauren’s stepmother struggled and acquired a Ph.D. degree and became a teacher in the neighborhood. She executed her tasks professionally, and most students loved her efforts. She became a role model for most of her female students as it was hard to find a woman holding a Ph.D. degree in the community. Cora sensed that the neighborhood was to be destroyed and asked the husband if she could move to Olivar, a safer place, but the husband could not allow her to leave. The novel has shown that the women in the society relied on the decisions made by their husbands and they were not authorized to go against such decisions. Regardless of her level of education, she stayed in the community even after noticing that the neighborhood was likely to be destroyed. The respect she had for the husband could not allow her to go against her husband’s decision. That’s how the society taught female children, to obey their husbands upon marriage. After her husband’s death, she was killed when the neighborhood was destroyed. The scenario depicts a society that view female as a gender who should follow their husband’s decisions without considering the consequences of following such decisions (Crawford and Neta 200). Cory was a heroine as she was among the few females who acquired formal education and became a role model for many female students. Being a Ph.D. degree holder makes her a celebrated heroine in the society who was viewed as having no rights to oppose the husband’s decisions. Could it have not been for the culture, Cory could have fled to Olivar where she could not have been killed.

The novel Parable of the Sower depicts women as persons whose primary task is to satisfy men’s sexual needs. Men in the novel perceive women as people whom they can harass sexually whenever they wished so. Such assumptions by most men deprived women the right to choose their partners. Brave women in the society could oppose boldly such attempts by men. The novel has portrayed some women as being brave and fled from the place where they were sexually harassed by men. For instance, Gloria Natividad, Hispanic, was a maid to who depicted female as people to satisfy his sexual needs. She was aggressive and wanted to know how to write. She stated that “The man we worked for, his wife used to write poetry. She would read it to me sometimes when she was feeling lonely. I liked it. Read me something of yours before it gets too dark.” Natividad fled from her employer when he attempted to sexually harass her. Her bold step to abandon her job indicates that she was a strong woman who could not sacrifice her dignity for monetary gains.


The novel Parable of Sower by Octavia Butler shows how various heroines struggled in the society so as to achieve their objectives and maintain their dignity. In a society that depicts women as not having equal rights as men, the strong female leads strived to ensure that they were not deprived of their rights. It is imperative to fight for personal rights regardless of the consequences so as to be appreciated in the society. Essentially, female leads’ primary intention is for gender equality in the society. Most women find it difficult to fight for their rights and end up leading a frustrated kind of life. Women should show solidarity in their attempts to fight for the democratic rights in the society. Likewise, men should also appreciate the contributions of women in the society. Men should allow women to perform different tasks perceived to be a reserve for men. It is important to enable women to make decisions without coercing them to follow the decisions made by women.

Works Cited

Agusti, Clara Escoda. “The relationship between community and subjectivity in Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower.” Extrapolation 46.3 (2005): 351-359.

Baccolini, Raffaella. “Gender and genre in the feminist critical dystopias of Katharine Burdekin, Margaret Atwood, and Octavia Butler.” Future females, the next generation: new voices and velocities in feminist science fiction criticism (2000): 13-34.

Bordo, Susan. Unbearable weight: Feminism, Western culture, and the body. Univ of California Press, 2004.

Butler, Judith. Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. routledge, 2011.

Crawford, Neta C. “Feminist Futures.” To Seek Out New Worlds. Palgrave Macmillan US, 2003. 195-220.

Lacey, Lauren J. “Octavia E. Butler on Coping with Power in Parable of the Sower, Parable of the Talents, and Fledgling.” Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 49.4 (2008): 379-394.

McRobbie, Angela. “Feminism and youth culture.” (2000).

Melzer, Patricia. Alien constructions: science fiction and feminist thought. University of Texas Press, 2010.

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