Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? | Study Guide

Philip K. Dick

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? | Chapter 14 | Summary



Roy and Irmgard Baty brief Pris Stratton on what has happened since they last saw her, and check out Pris's situation in the building. Roy decides they should all take cover in the same building. As Roy reasons through their situation, John Isidore recognizes him as their leader. However, he also recognizes an emotional flatness in all three of them that sets them apart. Isidore agrees with Roy Baty that Pris should stay with him, and says he will take care of her.

Roy leaves to go set up an alarm so they will know if a bounty hunter is approaching. While he is gone, Pris agrees to stay with Isidore. Once they are in his apartment, Pris explains bounty hunters are not real, and none of the story she and Roy tell are real because they were patients at a mental hospital. That is why they are emotionally flat, and why they share "group hallucinations." Isidore accepts their story, and the androids decide to vote about what to do next.


Among other functions, this chapter demonstrates the difference between emotional insight and intellect in this novel. John Isidore recognizes Roy Baty as a leader, something Isidore has never been (or aspired to). At the same time, he is emotionally insightful enough to recognize the androids share an "abstractness." Isidore follows this genuine insight with an image of bounty hunters as "machine-like" and inhuman. On one hand, this is a view generated by Isidore's ignorance: because he doesn't know what bounty hunters are, or what androids are, he doesn't have much to go on. On the other hand, his emotional purity gives him an insight the actual bounty hunters like Phil Resch and Rick Deckard lack. These bounty hunters make their living killing others they have classified as other than human. This is where readers can see Philip K. Dick's research into Nazi Germany showing up. As some Germans learned to live near the camps without empathy, so the bounty hunters must kill androids without empathy in order to survive.

Pris Stratton also offers another possibility for the spectrum of possible realities in the novel: shared insanity. Her story would explain why she and the other androids act differently from normal humans. However, it also introduces more questions, because group hallucinations are rare and hard to prove, and depend on some factor influencing an entire group. This would be a better description of humans using their empathy boxes than androids.

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