Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower imagines a future in which society has fallen to all of the apparent problems of today. One of contemporary society’s constant points of contention is the educational system, which many believe is a woeful failure. Many of the problems that America’s educational system faces stem from the lack of competent educators for the increasing number of students.
In Butler’s future it is apparent that many on the outside cannot read. When inquiring about Keith’s whereabouts Lauren learns how Keith is able to survive in part because of his literacy.
“He talked a little about joining some guys and joining up with them, then discovering that even though they were all older than he was, none of them could read or write.”
Keith continues in describing the “pyros” whose drug addiction causes them to set fire to objects and sometimes other people. A lot of parallels exist between this lack of education coupled with drug addiction and the “crack era” of the 1980s. it seems that Butler is making the critique of the lack of priority given to education and the problems that ensue from it.