Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Chapter 14 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Roy and Irmgard have just entered John Isidore’s apartment. Roy, Pris, and Irmgard speak in private for a moment before addressing John. Pris says, almost sarcastically, that John has been taking care of her. Roy tells Pris that Polokov, Garland, Anders, Gitchel, and Luba have been killed. Pris finds this devastating. As far as Roy knows, he, Pris, and Irmgard are the only three androids left from their initial group. Roy suggests that Pris “move in” with John, but Pris finds this ridiculous, since John is a “chickenhead.”
As soon as Pris gets other friends, she starts treating John much more rudely, perhaps because she knows that she doesn't really need him anymore (or she doesn’t want the other androids to know that she’s been befriending a human). The irony is that while this behavior isn’t particularly empathetic (just the opposite), it is recognizably human.
Themes
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
John overhears Roy talking with Pris and Irmgard. Nervously, he tells Pris to do what Roy says, since Roy is the “natural leader.” He tells Pris that he’d love to live with her from now on. Pris sneers and says, “The chickenhead likes me.” Irmgard reminds Pris, “Don’t call him that—think what he could call you.” Pris shrugs and agrees to move in with John for a while.
This is a revealing interaction between Irmgard and Pris—it reminds us that, just as not all humans are the same, so not all androids have the same personality. Irmgard correctly recognizes that it’s wrong for Pris to make fun of John, since Pris herself is an outcast from the rest of society.
Themes
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
Later in the day, John leads Pris to his TV room. He notices that Pris seems moody and frightened—Pris explains that she’s experiencing side-effects of a drug that Roy gave her. She claims that she and Roy are schizophrenics, hallucinating that they’ve lived on Mars and that bounty hunters will kill them. John, remembering the principles of Mercerism, tells Pris that the government never kills anyone—human or otherwise.
Pris is clearly lying to John so that he won’t give her away, but there’s also a sense that she wishes this easier explanation were the true one. John’s naïveté is heartbreaking, as he truly believes the government wouldn’t kill anyone or anything, even though we know that this is absolutely untrue.
Themes
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
Perception, Reality, and Power Theme Icon
Memory Theme Icon
Animals and the Environment Theme Icon
Roy enters the room, carrying an electric alarm he’s built himself. The alarm will sound whenever anyone other than the four of them enters the building. At this time, the alarm will send a “mood of panic” throughout the building, making it difficult for a bounty hunter to do his job. This mood will affect John, as well as the bounty hunter. John is impressed with Roy’s ingenuity. He tells Roy he wishes he had Roy’s IQ, since then he’d be able to “pass the test” and not be a chickenhead.
John idolizes Roy—Roy is intelligent, strong, intimidating, and well traveled. The only thing that John has that Roy lacks is, of course, humanity. This should make us wonder, Is humanity really a “thing” in itself? As far as the bounty hunters in the novel are concerned, the answer is yes. But based on what we’ve seen, there’s no fundamental difference between being a robot, being a “special,” and being a “normal” human.
Themes
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Perception, Reality, and Power Theme Icon
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Pris tells Roy that John will never turn them in. Even though he could get a large reward by going to the police, he needs them for emotional comfort. John is, in short, special. Roy, Irmgard, and Pris decide to vote on whether or not to stay in the apartment.
Pris speaks of John’s emotional needs cynically—she thinks of it as a weakness. Despite her earlier shows of emotion, Pris often acts like the stereotypical cold, merciless android.
Themes
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
Perception, Reality, and Power Theme Icon