Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? | Study Guide

Philip K. Dick

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? | Chapter 13 | Summary



When John Isidore flies home after work, he takes expensive groceries with him. He offers them to Pris Stratton, but she dismisses them. Isidore concludes she is upset because she doesn't have any friends. Pris says she does, but a bounty hunter might have gotten them all. Isidore has never heard of a bounty hunter. He is confused and appalled, and assures Pris he will protect her. As they talk, Pris makes mistakes she thinks reveal her android identity, but then recovers enough to fool Isidore, who takes her mistakes as those of someone new to Earth. Pris is telling him about what it is like to live on Mars, and how they read science fiction, when there is a knock at the door. Pris sends Isidore to answer it, and he finds Roy and Irmgard Baty, the last two rogue androids, standing there.


It isn't clear if John Isidore doesn't know about bounty hunters because of his limited mental capacity, or for some other reason (bounty hunting might be a very rare profession, for example). What is clear is that some factor lets Isidore make allowances for Pris Stratton's actions that others might not have made. It might be Isidore's good nature, or it might be how he accepts his own limits. Some factor makes him a better person. He is also quicker to recognize the possibility that cultural bias might distort a person's actions than the more confident Rick Deckard was when analyzing Luba Luft.

In this chapter, Philip K. Dick uses science fiction to develop and complicate the theme of reality. The androids on Mars read science fiction because it is exciting and because it tells stories of how people thought Mars ought to be. This means artificial humans who have lived on another planet read fictional stories written by people who lived before space flight, and somehow find them more emotionally real than their own reality. Dick doesn't do much with this twist, but it is a useful commentary on how people experience reality. This continues to develop the theme of reality, but it also comments on the book readers are reading, making it a kind of "metafiction." Because the androids read science fiction while Deckard makes references to the old-fashioned Frank Merriwell, this also suggests their minds may be livelier and more varied than his.

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