Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? | Study Guide

Philip K. Dick

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? | Chapter 8 | Summary



Rick Deckard arrives at work. His boss briefs him on which android to go after first, and tells him a Soviet cop will be joining him in the hunt. Deckard resists at first, because he is used to working alone. He checks the android's place of employment and then his apartment building and finds them abandoned. Deckard checks in with his boss who tells him the Soviet cop is already in town. Deckard is studying the information on the next android when Rachael Rosen calls him and offers to join him on the hunt. He refuses. She insists, saying the androids are too tricky for him to catch alone. After he hangs up, the Soviet cop gets out of a hovercar taxi and joins him. He is outgoing and friendly. When Deckard notices his gun, the cop brings it out so Deckard can look at it. Deckard suddenly realizes this supposed cop, Sandor Kadalyi, is the rogue android, Max Polokov, that he was looking for. When he mentions his suspicion, the android tries to shoot him. When the laser gun doesn't work—because of technology in Deckard's car suppressing it—the android tries to strangle him. Deckard shoots him with an old-fashioned pistol. He calls his wife to let her know what he has done, and then begins hunting for the female android Luba Luft.


The parallels between John Isidore and Rick Deckard continue here. Both men arrive at work. In the process, both must assess the artificiality or realness of beings they encounter. For Isidore in the previous chapter, the cat is mistaken for an android. For Deckard, the Soviet cop is mistaken for a human. In both cases, the alleged false beings are terminated. This effect drives home the fact that in this postwar society, being able to tell real from artificial is literally a matter of life and death. Interestingly, both men also find themselves making mistakes when they speak. Isidore stutters due to his nerves, while Deckard accidentally reverses the names of the two men, accusing the android of being the Soviet cop, rather than the other way around.

This chapter also develops key differences between the two men. Isidore never realized the cat was fake until his boss told him. Deckard spontaneously realizes the supposed cop was an android based on subtle cues.

Finally, this chapter continues to complicate the question of what is real. Someone Deckard had thought was not just human, but known to be human and there to help him, turns out to be an android. Because this android was playing the role of a cop, it indicates that society's official power structure is compromised. This isn't a world where humans run things and protect themselves from androids. This is a world where humans don't know androids are working right beside them in positions of power.

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