March 18, 2009

Parable of the Sower

Parable of the Sower is the odyssey of one woman who is twice as feeling in a world that has become doubly dehumanized. The time is 2025. The place is California, where small walled communities must protect themselves from hordes of desperate scavengers and roaming bands of "Paints," people addicted to a drug that activates an orgasmic desire to burn, rape and murder. When one small community is overrun, Lauren Olamina, an 18 year old black woman, sets off on foot, moving north along the dangerous coastal highways. She is a "sharer," one who suffers from a hereditary trait called "hyperempathy," which causes her to feel others' pain as well as her own. Parable of the Sower is both a coming of age novel and a road novel, set in the near future, when the dying embers of our old civilization can either cool or be the catalyst for something new.


Faune A. Chambers as Lauren Olimina- Lauren Olamina is the narrator and heroine of the novel. She is fifteen years old when the story begins. Lauren is African-American, intelligent and well-educated, already having taken some college-level courses. She thinks for herself and has strong leadership qualities. One difficulty she has to cope with is that she suffers from "hyperempathy syndrome." This means that she feels other people's pain and pleasure as if they were her own. She believes this to be a weakness and tries to keep it a secret as much as possible. Lauren acquired the syndrome because her mother was addicted to the prescription drug Paracetco. Her mother died giving birth to Lauren.

Keith David as Reverend Olamina - Reverend Olamina is Lauren's father. He is a Ph.D. and he teaches at the local college. He is also a Baptist minister. His own parents were murdered and his first wife died giving birth to Lauren. Reverend Olamina is a strict disciplinarian who beats his children when he thinks it necessary. When he beats Keith severely for running away from home, Keith never forgives him. Reverend Olamina also takes every possible measure to protect his family and the neighborhood from attack, and Lauren respects him.

Rachel Ticotin as Cory Olamina - Cory Olamina is Lauren's stepmother. She holds a Ph.D. degree and is a teacher in charge of the neighborhood school. She wants to move to Olivar, but her husband will not allow it. After her husband's death, she takes over some of his teaching duties at the college.

Ryan Kwantan as Harry Balter - Harry Balter is a white boy of about Lauren's age. He is the boyfriend of Joanne Garfield, who is his cousin. When the Garfields move to the company town of Olivar, Joanne wants Harry to go too, but he refuses. When Lauren's neighborhood is overrun by thieves and arsonists, he and Lauren, along with Zahra, escape together.

Kerry Washington as Zahra Moss: Zahra Moss is Richard Moss's husband. He purchased her from her homeless mother when she was fifteen. Zahra has a baby daughter, Bibi, who is killed when the Robledo neighborhood is finally overrun. Zahra can neither read nor write, and Lauren begins to teach her.

Rob Brown as Travis Charles Douglas: Travis Charles Douglas is the husband of Natividad. He is a self-educated black man. His mother worked as a live-in cook and used to sneak books to him from their employer's library. After his mother died he married Natividad and stayed on as gardener and handyman. They fled their employer when he made sexual advances on Natividad.

America Ferrara as Gloria Natividad Douglas: Gloria Natividad Douglas is the wife of Travis Douglas. They are the first people to join Lauren, Harry and Zahra on the journey north. Natividad, who is Hispanic, used to work as a maid in the same house where Travis was the gardener and handyman. They left because their employer was subjecting Natividad to sexual harassment.

Dennis Haysbert as Taylor Franklin Bankole: Taylor Franklin Bankole is a fifty-seven-year-old African-American doctor. He joins Lauren's group about four weeks after their trek north begins; he is heading toward some land he owns in the hills on the coast near Cape Mendocino, where his sister and her family live. Bankole's wife was murdered five years ago by drug addicts who broke into their home while he was away. He takes to the road after his community in San Diego is destroyed by arsonists, just as Lauren's neighborhood was. ßPin It

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