Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Chapter 10 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Rick and Crams have just arrived at the Mission Street Hall of Justice. Rick has never been to this location before. Inside, Crams introduces himself to the desk sergeant, and takes Rick to a room, where he’s to be interrogated. Crams tells other officers that he’s found a body in Rick’s hovercar. A senior police officer asks Rick about the Voigt-Kampff equipment he’s carrying around, and tells Rick that he gets one phone call.
Rick isn’t dead yet—he’s being treated like an ordinary criminal. Notably, Rick doesn’t tell anyone that he’s a police officer, at least not yet. He knows that he’s a human and a cop, but he’s waiting for the right time to use this information to his advantage.
Themes
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
Rick uses his phone call to talk to Iran. When he dials Iran on the “vidscreen,” he’s surprised to find another woman in his house. He hangs up abruptly.
The alienation between the characters in this novel is enormous—Rick tries to talk to his wife but ends up talking to someone else, an apt symbol for the inadequacy of technology (which is supposed to bring people closer together).
Themes
Perception, Reality, and Power Theme Icon
Still in the police station, Rick is taken to speak with an officer named Garland, and another officer named Phil Resch. Resch, another bounty hunter, has been called in to verify that Rick is who he says he is. Resch confirms that Rick is an officer, and that Polokov is an android. Rick admits that he didn't have a chance to test either Polokov or Miss Luft for android characteristics.
This is one of the trickiest chapters in the novel, and it’s designed to complicate our understanding and expectations about who is and isn’t human. Garland is an authority figure, but his own status as a human being is far from certain. This is an important point in and of itself: the reason that Garland questions Rick’s humanity but Rick doesn’t question Garland’s is, quite simply, that in this situation Garland has power and Rick has none. This suggests that being human isn’t just a matter of passing a test or having the right biology—it’s a matter of having power.
Themes
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
Perception, Reality, and Power Theme Icon
Garland spells out the situation: Rick claims that he works for a police agency based out of Lombard Street. Garland has never heard of this police agency in his life. He claims that he’s never heard of the Voigt-Kampff test, and that Rick has probably been killing innocent human beings, not androids. Resch suggests to Garland that Rick demonstrate the Voigt-Kampff test on Resch himself.
The complications in defining humanity increase still further in this section. We don’t know what’s going to happen when Rick runs the Voigt-Kampff—for that matter, we don’t really know if Rick is an android after all, or if everyone is, or if no one is.
Themes
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
Perception, Reality, and Power Theme Icon
Commodification and Consumerism Theme Icon
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