Throughout the novel, Lauren consistently relates the idea of god to change. One particularly interesting passage that further develops this thought is an Earthseed passage found at the beginning of chapter 5:
Initiates and guides action –
Or it does nothing. (47)
Regardless of whether change is for better or worse, it must all start with a beginning step. This can be related to Lauren’s belief of god as something that is shaped by humans (if they have the will to do so). This shaping or change is something that is stimulated by the beliefs/support of the people but without any initiation or start it is pointless and ineffective. This also shadows Lauren’s view of the true effectiveness of the belief in god, something her family and friends hold so dearly to them that they will travel outside the neighbor hood walls just to fulfill a “silly” baptism.
This Earthseed passage parallels Lauren herself in the way that she has always had the belief to travel north in order to find a better life but has never made the “initiation” to. She has always believed that there was a better place to live and raise a family somewhere in the north, but has never made the attempt to look as something has always held her back. In the beginning of the book Lauren talks about her dream where she was flying but her house was on fire. The dream then turns into a past memory of her grand mother telling her about how there were fewer lights than there used to be. This mirrors Lauren’s own desire to leave her home due to her belief that there is nothing truly left for her (the lights dimming) but unfortunately there is no room to expand or “fly.”
This idea of “useless belief” can especially be seen in the stages leading up to the fall of Lauren’s Neighborhood and family. Throughout the first few stages of the book Lauren is constant urging her friends and family to prepare “safety packs” for dire emergencies and to learn how to defend themselves as well as to survive off the land. However, they all failed to listen to Lauren’s advice, rather putting their faith in a higher being than on their own survival, eventually leading to their perish.
During the streak of increasing burglaries in Lauren’s neighborhood, she feels compelled to do more than sit back and watch her town be terrorized further. She not only wants to continue surviving but also wants to change her future for the better. Lauren truly believes and wants this but fails to ever put it into action.
This lack of action/ambition by her surroundings proves to be truly “nothing” as her town is eventually overruled by addicts and thieves thus leading to Lauren being forced to act upon her deepest wants and must leave her home for the sake of her own safety under much more weary circumstances.
Although I agree with Lauren’s statement, I do not think she truly lived by her words. Despite the stubbornness of her peers, I think she would have been better off living by her beliefs and following her wants. While this may be a hard decision for Lauren, I feel it would be the wisest as she is much more miserable later on after staying put.
The lack of ambition and drive seen in the townspeople due to their desire to put their reliance on god rather than in their own control further extends Lauren’s idea of “useless belief.” The townspeople’s’ belief of god should be seen as pointless by Lauren as it does neither initiate nor stir action. This pointless belief is proven to be ineffective as it eventually leads to the unfortunate destruction of Lauren’s home.