Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? | Study Guide

Philip K. Dick

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? | Chapter 22 | Summary



Rick Deckard puts his phone down without finishing the call to Iran because he sees a toad on the ground. He is incredibly excited because toads are supposed to be extinct. Deckard gathers the toad into a box, puts it in the hovercar, and flies home.

When Deckard arrives, his wife is at the mood organ, but she feels too flat to choose a new mood. Deckard shows her the toad. As they are talking about it, she examines it, and finds its controls: it is artificial. Deckard's mood sinks. He is exhausted and now wants to sleep. They talk about his day, and about Wilbur Mercer. She plans to dial up the mood of "long deserved peace" for her husband on the mood organ, but he drifts off to sleep without any artificial help. Once he is asleep, Iran calls the artificial pet store and orders a batch of electric flies to go with the toad.


Traditionally, at the end of a heroic quest or adventure, heroes receive a reward. Rick Deckard thinks he has received this type of reward when he finds the toad. He would be rich and famous for finding it. He even reasons forward to new understanding of his spiritual state based on this discovery, thinking that he found the toad—a fantastic, impossible discovery—because he now sees the world through Wilbur Mercer's eyes. He essentially brought the world into being.

This is a conscious, positive version of what happened when John Isidore started to destroy his apartment because he was so upset. It is more important because Deckard does what Mercer is supposed to have done, bringing the dead back to life.

Deckard is clearly crushed when his wife, Iran, reveals the toad is artificial. However, from the reader's perspective, it isn't clear Deckard should be disappointed. He has done what Mercer said he had to: all paths require unethical action. He has accepted all, in his way: he has loved an android. There is no salvation, but Mercer had said there wouldn't be. Instead, like Mercer, Deckard is just a tired man who must keep going, one step at a time. Now, though, instead of fighting with his wife, the two have reached peace. They use the mood organ in the spirit of love and justice. This is not a bad reward for the world's longest day.

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