Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? | Study Guide

Philip K. Dick

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? | Chapter 9 | Summary



Since Luba Luft is pretending to be a human opera singer, Rick Deckard goes to the opera house. When he arrives, they are rehearsing Mozart's The Magic Flute. Deckard studies the cast, and identifies the android Luft. Once the rehearsal ends, he goes to Luft's dressing room, introduces himself, and says he is there to give her "a standard personality-profile test." However, she confuses Deckard and the situation, first arguing that he should take the test himself to show he isn't an android, and then by pretending not to understand many of the questions, due to differences in language and culture. Luft distracts Deckard and points a laser at him. She calls the police and reports him as a pervert.

When the cop arrives, Deckard introduces himself as a bounty hunter, but the cop doesn't know him, saying he knows all the local bounty hunters. Deckard suggests they call his boss, Inspector Harry Bryant. The cop says there is no such person. Deckard calls Bryant, but when he hands the phone to the cop, the cop says no one is there. The cop tries calling, and is told there is no bounty hunter named Deckard. He decides to take Deckard to the Hall of Justice to sort everything out. The two leave via the roof, giving the cop a chance to look over the body in Deckard's car. Once they get in the cop's car and take off, Deckard realizes they are heading away from the Hall of Justice. When he asks about it, the cop says that Deckard's talking about the former Hall of Justice. It is abandoned, and there is a new one. The cop takes Deckard to the new Hall of Justice.


Any time people try to test someone's innate mental capacities, such as intelligence, they face a challenge: how can they be sure the test reflects the person's actual ability and not education or bias? During the period when Philip K. Dick wrote this novel, cultural bias in testing was becoming part of popular culture in America. That's what readers see here, with a great deal at stake. Rick Deckard cannot get his test to work on Luba Luft, but he is unable to tell if it is because of language difficulties, lack of cultural context, or because she is an android. He simply can't tell. Even when she pulls a weapon on him, it might be because he is a strange man in her dressing room, asking her strange questions. It is plausible that she might be human and just think he is weird.

When Luft calls the police, this further develops the idea that the social power structure has been compromised, although Deckard doesn't realize it yet. And at this point, the reader doesn't know it, either. Just as it was possible that Luft was a real person who didn't like Deckard's questions, it is possible Deckard is out of the loop and doesn't realize a new Hall of Justice (police station) has been built.

There are some links between the opera Luft is rehearsing—Mozart's The Magic Flute—and this novel. The Magic Flute tells the story of a prince who is hired to rescue a princess. However, when he finds her, he ends up joining the community in which she lives rather than bringing her back. This partially foreshadows Deckard's actions: he sleeps with Rachael Rosen, which she thinks will keep him from killing androids. However, the parallel is only partial.

A more substantial parallel drawn between Rick Deckard and the author Philip K. Dick is the love of opera. In other areas, Deckard seems relatively uncultured. He reads little: Dick only shows Deckard reading background information on the androids. However, in this chapter he shows great familiarity with opera. Dick was such a fan of opera, he claimed he could identify almost any opera by the time he was a teenager.

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