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Published: 25-12-2019

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The Powerful Symbolism Of Water

Water is the most abundant source of life on this planet. Not only did the initial living beings emerge from its depths, but it also possesses the capability to hold each living factor alive. Potent as it is, water takes on whole new meanings in Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower. In this novel, the journal entries of Lauren Olamina tell her story as she, actually and figuratively, navigates the planet around her. The dystopian America Lauren lives in is virtually void of a dependable supply of water, specially in Lauren’s case as she lives in southern California, an area identified for its long periods of drought. These situations highlight the symbolism of water in the novel. In Butler’s Parable of the Sower, water represents wealth, life, and safety.

There are numerous situations in this novel where water is a symbol for wealth. The setting of this story is a single exactly where a majority of the population is very impoverished. Due to this and the inflation of the failing economy, water has grow to be an costly necessity, and clean water a luxury. According to Lauren, “water now expenses a number of occasions as significantly as gasoline” and “is as excellent as money” (Butler 18, 201). Only these who have money are capable to drink water, and that water is not assured to be protected unless it is from a industrial water station. As a consequence of this, individuals that have the potential to afford water are regarded as wealthy, and typically despised. Lauren explains that“[y]ou’re supposed to be dirty now. If you’re clean, you make a target of yourself” (18). To the poor and thirsty folks about Lauren, if one has the option of cleaning themselves with water, they are attempting to show off how much greater and wealthier they are than the individuals around them.

Water is also a symbol for life. Heavy themes such as poverty, racism, and violence are all prevalent during this novel. However, there are particular instances when lightheartedness and basic liveliness can seep into the story, typically attached to scenes concerning water. For instance, when it starts to rain, right after raining for six years, Lauren describes how she feels when the rain hits her skin: “It was so great. How can [Cory] not understand that? It was so extraordinary and wonderful” (48). Lauren is characterized as a critical and intelligent girl, however in this moment, seeing the water outside her home, she becomes a new person. Disregarding the consequences and disobeying her stepmother, Lauren stands outside until she is soaked in dirty rain water. These actions are not indicative of somebody who is trying their greatest to be observed as an adult and to survive in a harmful world, they are the actions of a teenager who wants to enjoy her life. A similar event happens later in the novel when Lauren, Harry, and Zahra are at a beach. They are completely surrounded by potentially harmful strangers in unknown territory, but this is the first time any of them had noticed the ocean, so once more Lauren disregards the consequences of her actions and in fact lives her life. Her and Zahra, neither realizing how to swim, walk into the ocean and “threw water on every single other…let the waves knock [them] around, and laughed like crazy men and women,” Lauren even claims it was the “best time [she’s] had because [they] left home” (206). Both these scenes are situations where characters that are normally burdened by numerous tragedies and traumas are able to take pleasure in their life, surrounded by water.

In the novel, water furthermore represents security for the characters. Till the finish of the story, the characters are never ever in a spot entirely void of danger. However, there are certain points exactly where the characters are in locations of temporary tranquility, places that are related with water. The first location is the ocean. When the group arrives there, Lauren describes the scene:

…the narrow strip of sand was crowded with men and women, though they managed to stay out of every single other’s way. They had spread themselves out and seemed far a lot more tolerant of one particular one more than they had throughout our night in the hills. I didn’t hear any shooting or fighting. There had been no dogs, no clear thefts, no rape. Maybe the sea the cool breeze lulled them. (205)

This scene is a deep contrast to the night the group experienced on the hills, where there was shootings throughout the night and fighting continuously. But, at the ocean, there is an odd sense of understanding amongst the different groups, as if no a single wants to disturb the peace the water created. Consequently, the characters really feel safe right here, secure sufficient for them to play in the ocean and appreciate themselves. The other location the characters experiences some security was at the lake. After they arrived at the lake, Lauren remarked that none of the people living there shot at them or bothered them at all as they made their way to a campsite (259). In addition, the group was in a position to locate a remote campsite where they could relax safely. Lauren even had the chance to spend all day “talking, writing, reading, and creating enjoy to Bankole” (268). Both the time spent at the ocean and the time spent at the lake are indicative about how getting surrounded by water calms even the most barbaric people, generating a safer atmosphere.

The symbol of water in Parable of the Sower represents a selection of good and life-sustaining elements. Since of its higher cost, those that can afford the fundamental necessity of water are seen as wealthy. Furthermore, the tranquility developed by water makes it possible for for the characters to unwind safely and enjoy themselves. Not only is water essential to survive, but to these characters, water is crucial for carrying out something much more than surviving. Throughout the story, the water presents the characters with outlets to escape the severity of the planet about them and just reside.
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