Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? | Study Guide

Philip K. Dick

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Course Hero. "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Study Guide." Course Hero. 23 June 2017. Web. 23 Oct. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Do-Androids-Dream-of-Electric-Sheep/>.

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Course Hero, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Study Guide," June 23, 2017, accessed October 23, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Do-Androids-Dream-of-Electric-Sheep/.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? | Plot Summary

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Summary

Morning

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? takes place over the course of one very long day: January 3, 2021. (The year was 1992 in earlier editions of the novel.) The book is set after World War Terminus. Most of humanity has either been killed or migrated to other planets, and animals are scarce because of the war.

The novel opens when bounty hunter Rick Deckard wakes up on January 3. Deckard and his wife, Iran, argue about the "mood organ" that wakes them and about his job as a bounty hunter. As Deckard leaves to go to work, he talks with his neighbor and admires the man's horse. Deckard only owns an artificial sheep.

That same morning, John Isidore gets ready for work in another apartment building. Isidore has limited intelligence and has suffered genetic damage from radiation. Before he goes to work, he uses his "empathy box" to share a vision with others. He then realizes he hears someone else in the building, when he thought he was the only one living there.

Dawn of a New Case

When Deckard gets to work, his boss informs him about a challenging new case. Six rogue androids are loose. They managed to injure the senior bounty hunter in the office. Deckard's boss worries they may be too hard for Deckard to detect because they are more advanced than other androids he has destroyed. He sends Deckard to visit the Rosen Association—the company that built the androids—so he can test what they use to identify androids and make sure it works.

When Deckard flies to Seattle to visit the company, a young woman, Rachael Rosen, meets him. Her uncle asks Deckard to test Rachael. When Deckard does, he concludes she is an android. Rachael's uncle says she was raised on a spaceship, and this accounts for her odd answers. This seems to render Deckard's test useless; then he realizes Rachael is acting oddly. He asks her one more question, and confirms she is an android—specifically, a Nexus-6, like the rogue androids.

Back in the apartment building, Isidore introduces himself to the other person living in his building, a young woman named Pris Stratton. After introducing himself, Isidore goes to work. He picks up what he thinks is a malfunctioning artificial cat, but the cat stops working as he drives to the office. Isidore's boss recognizes the cat was real and makes him call the cat's owner as punishment for not realizing this.

Deckard returns to San Francisco. His boss tells him which android to go after first, and that a Soviet cop will be joining him in the hunt. Deckard is studying the background information on the androids when Rachael Rosen calls. She offers to help him catch the androids, saying they are too tricky for him.

The Soviet cop gets out of a hovercar taxi and joins him. He seems friendly until Deckard suddenly realizes this supposed cop is the rogue android he was looking for. The android tries to kill him, but Deckard kills him instead.

Deckard next goes after Luba Luft, an android pretending to be a human opera singer. Deckard goes to the opera house and watches a rehearsal before going to Luft's dressing room. He tries to test her humanity using his standardized test, but Luft confuses him, then draws a laser on him. She calls the police on Deckard.

The cop arrives but doesn't know Deckard or his boss. He takes Deckard to a police station, but not the one Deckard knows. When Deckard asks about this, the cop says that was the old station, and they are going to the new one. Once there, the cop checks him in and turns Deckard over to an officer. The officer recognizes he is on Deckard's list of suspected androids. The officer calls a bounty hunter to help them sort through the situation. Deckard and the other bounty hunter decide they'll have to run their respective screening tests on one another to determine who is human.

When the bounty hunter leaves to get the gear for the test, the officer pulls a laser on Deckard. When the bounty hunter returns, the officer points at him, and the bounty hunter shoots him in return. They leave handcuffed together, so Deckard can get out of a building the bounty hunter claims is full of androids.

Working together, the pair track Luft to a local museum. When they capture her, she accuses the other bounty hunter of being an android. The bounty hunter kills her, and the two men leave the museum. Deckard tests the bounty hunter and finds him human. Deckard then has the other man test him and finds that, while he, too, is human, Deckard now empathizes with female androids.

Evening

After his day at work, Isidore flies home with expensive groceries to share with Pris. She lets him in and tells him stories about who she is. Some are real and some aren't. Two more rogue androids show up at her door. They come in and explain to Pris what has happened since they last saw one another. Roy, the male android, sets an alarm so they'll know if a bounty hunter finds them. Pris stays with Isidore, and the androids accept Isidore's offer to help.

On his way home from work, Deckard stops by a pet store where he spends all the money he has made on the day's bounties as a down payment on a goat. He takes the goat home. His wife admires it but is worried about the cost, especially when Deckard shares the fact that he wants to quit his job as bounty hunter. Deckard's boss calls to tell him they know where the remaining androids are hiding and talks him into going after them that night.

Night

Deckard leaves to go after them but pauses to call Rachael Rosen to ask for her help. When she refuses, he asks if she will come down and spend the night with him. She agrees and they check into a hotel room. They talk about the remaining androids, and Rachael shares the fact that she and Pris are the same model. They talk about the nature of androids and their conflicting agendas, then Rachael gives Deckard a weapon he can use against the androids. Then they sleep together.

After Deckard and Rachael have sex, they eat and talk, then fly away to pursue the androids. Deckard tells Rachael he would marry her if he could. She says he won't be able to kill the androids now that they've had sex, because none of the other nine bounty hunters she has slept with have been able to. Deckard is stunned to learn that he is just one of many, but insists he will be able to kill the androids—and will kill her. He pulls a weapon on her, but doesn't kill her.

Isidore moves the rest of Pris's belongings into his apartment. As he is doing so, he finds a spider. When he shows it to the androids, they begin to torture it, cutting off its legs to see if it will still be able to walk. While they're doing this, the "Buster Friendly" show comes on. The show exposes the religion/movement of Mercerism as fake.

Troubled, Isidore has a vision that seems to disrupt the entire apartment. He then uses the empathy box and has a vision of Mercer. Isidore asks Mercer if the claims are true. Mercer says they are, and when he returns the spider to Isidore, its legs are miraculously healed. An alarm sounds: there is a bounty hunter outside.

Isidore opens the door. No one is there. He walks down to the building's dead garden and releases the spider. Deckard approaches him, asking for help in retiring the androids. Isidore refuses. Deckard goes to destroy them himself and sees a vision of Mercer, who tells him where they are hiding and which ones will be hardest to destroy.

Pris comes down the steps. At first Deckard thinks it is Rachael because they are the same model; then he recognizes it is Pris. He kills her, then goes to Isidore's apartment. He fools the androids into thinking he is Isidore, and they open the door. Roy fires on Deckard. Deckard returns fire, killing Irmgard and then Roy.

Deckard calls his boss to tell him he got all the androids, then goes home. When he gets there, his wife tells him someone killed their goat. From her description, Deckard realizes it is Rachael. He flies off into the uninhabited north.

A Trip Before Bed

In the wastelands of Oregon, Deckard walks up a hill and is hit by a stone. He sees an obscure figure, and realizes he is in a vision of Mercerism. He hurries back to his car, and calls his office. His secretary tries to coax him back to civilization, or at least to call his wife. Deckard starts to call his wife, then stops when he notices a toad. He carefully puts the toad into a box, excited because toads are supposed to be extinct.

Deckard flies home and shows his wife. As she admires the toad, she realizes it is artificial. Deckard's spirits drop, and he goes to bed. Once he is asleep, his wife calls the artificial pet store and orders electric flies to go with the toad.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Plot Diagram

123456789101112131415ClimaxResolutionIntroductionRising ActionFalling Action

Introduction

1 Deckard gets a new case, tracking six rogue androids.

Rising Action

2 Someone new moves into Isidore's building.

3 Deckard visits the Rosen Association.

4 Deckard discovers Rachael Rosen is an android.

5 Deckard kills Polokov, a rogue android.

6 Fake cops arrest Deckard when he tries to test Luba Luft.

7 Fellow bounty hunter Phil Resch helps Deckard escape.

8 Deckard and Resch track Luft, and Resch kills her.

9 Deckard buys a goat.

10 Rachael Rosen sleeps with Deckard so he won't kill androids.

Climax

11 Deckard kills the remaining three androids.

Falling Action

12 Rachael kills Deckard's goat.

13 Deckard goes off into the wasteland.

14 Deckard fuses with Mercer and finds a toad.

Resolution

15 Iran reveals that the toad is a fake; Deckard goes to sleep.

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