Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? | Study Guide

Philip K. Dick

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? | Chapter 19 | Summary



John Isidore realizes he is holding the handles of the empathy box. The androids pressure him to deal with the bounty hunter. He opens the door, spider in hands, but no one is there. Isidore walks to what used to be a garden before the war destroyed everything, and releases the spider. Rick Deckard asks him what he did and why. Isidore explains that if he took it to his apartment the androids would torture it. Deckard agrees, introduces himself, and asks Isidore to help him with the androids. When Isidore hesitates, Deckard goes to tackle them alone. As he moves toward the apartment, Wilbur Mercer approaches Deckard. He tells Deckard where the androids are hiding, and then says the first one will be the hardest to kill.

The first android comes down the steps. Deckard recognizes it as Rachael Rosen, and then realizes it must be Pris Stratton. He kills her. He then goes to the apartment and pretends to be Isidore, even stuttering like Isidore to fool the androids inside. The androids open the door, and Roy Baty fires on Deckard, but Deckard fires back. He kills Irmgard Baty, then Roy. After the androids collapse, Isidore comes in. Deckard calls his boss to let him know he is done.


Reality continues to blur and rupture in this chapter. The first distortion comes when John Isidore realizes he is holding onto his empathy box. Has he been holding it all along? Did his apartment only seem to crumble around him, as part of the vision produced by the empathy box? Philip K. Dick never clarifies this. Even if he had, it would not explain Wilbur Mercer's presence, and why Rick Deckard saw him. If Deckard were just hallucinating, due to stress, lack of sleep, or other factors, how could Mercer give such accurate and useful information about the androids? Like the characters in the novel, readers must reach their own conclusions, and move a step at a time.

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