Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

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Iran Deckard Character Analysis

Iran is Rick Deckard’s melancholy, taciturn wife. She spends all of her time in their house, and seems to be interested in few things other than buying expensive animals and watching television. In a way, Iran is identical to her husband, minus his doubts about the society they live in—so she uses the mood organ, which is designed to calibrate (i.e., control) her emotions at all times of the day. In spite of her vacuity and empty-headed interest in conspicuous consumption, Iran shows moments of surprising tenderness—at the end of the novel, for example, she seems to care for her husband, even if her love is limited by futuristic consumer culture.

Iran Deckard Quotes in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

The Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? quotes below are all either spoken by Iran Deckard or refer to Iran Deckard . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Ballantine Books edition of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? published in 1996.
Chapter 1 Quotes

Examining the schedule for January 3, 1992, he saw that a businesslike professional attitude was called for. "If I dial by schedule," he said warily, "will you agree to also?" He waited, canny enough not to commit himself until his wife had agreed to follow suit.
"My schedule for today lists a six-hour self-accusatory depression," Iran said.
"What? Why did you schedule that?" It defeated the whole purpose of the mood organ. "I didn't even know you could set it for that," he said gloomily.

Related Characters: Rick Deckard (speaker), Iran Deckard (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Mood Organ
Page Number: 4-5
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, we're introduced to the mood organ, a futuristic device that implants a strong emotion in its user: depression, alertness, etc. The people who use the mood organ can even schedule precise emotions throughout the day, so that they can be guaranteed a strong feeling of alertness at 11 am, or a light melancholy at 10 pm.  (Notice also that the only "real" emotion in the passage is gloom, suggesting that perhaps the emotions generated by the machine are actually more desirable and even more real than ordinary human emotions.)

The disturbing thing about a mood organ is that it renders all humans' emotions the same--if two unlike people both use the mood organ to feel melancholy, then their senses of melancholy will be identical in every way. In general, then, the mood organ is representative of a futuristic society in which the consumption of machines and other commodities has created a bland, homogeneous population.

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As he started toward his car Barbour called after him hurriedly, "Um, I won't say anything to anybody here in the building."
Pausing, Rick started to say thanks. But then something of the despair that Iran had been talking about tapped him on the shoulder and he said, "I don't know; maybe it doesn't make any difference."
"But they'll look down on you. Not all of them, but some. You know how people are about not taking care of an animal; they consider it immoral and anti-empathic. I mean, technically it's not a crime like it was right after WWT. But the feeling's still there."

Related Characters: Rick Deckard (speaker), Bill Barbour (speaker), Iran Deckard
Related Symbols: World War Terminus
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

In Rick's society, humans demonstrate their morality and empathy--essentially proving that they are human, and thereby different from androids--by taking care of animals. Pets of any kind are incredibly rare, due to the environmental devastation caused by WWT, a nuclear apocalypse that happened at some point in the recent past.

First, notice the subtle competition between Rick and his neighbor, Bill Barbour, in this passage. Bill lectures Rick about being a good pet-owner, but in reality, Bill is bragging to Rick about being able to afford an exotic pet. In other words, being a "good" person in Rick's society presupposes having the money needed to buy an animal.

Second, it's important to note that humans think of pet-care as an almost nostalgic act; a reminder of a time before WWT, when there were trees and animals in abundance. To own a pet is to gain access to humanity's vanished past. In general, then, animals exemplify many of the key themes of the novel: consumerism, memory, empathy, and the environment.

Chapter 15 Quotes

Rick said, "I took a test, one question, and verified it; I've begun to empathize with androids, and look what that means. You said it this morning yourself. 'Those poor andys.' So you know what I'm talking about. That's why I bought the goat. I never felt like that before. Maybe it could be a depression, like you get. I can understand now how you suffer when you're depressed; I always thought you liked it and I thought you could have snapped yourself out any time, if not alone then by means of the mood organ. But when you get that depressed you don't care. Apathy, because you've lost a sense of worth. It doesn't matter whether you feel better because if you have no worth — "
"What about your job?" Her tone jabbed at him; he blinked. "Your job," Iran repeated. "What are the monthly payments on the goat?" She held out her hand; reflexively he got out the contract which he had signed, passed it to her.

Related Characters: Rick Deckard (speaker), Iran Deckard (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Mood Organ
Page Number: 174-175
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Rick Deckard admits to his wife, Iran, that he's begun to empathize with the androids whom he's been tasked with hunting down and "retiring." Up to this point in the novel, Rick has defined empathy as the ability to feel a bond with other human beings--here, though, he expands his definition of empathy to encompass a bond with androids and animals. As a way of staving off his guilt and anxiety (and showing off his new bounty hunting rewards), Rick has purchased an expensive pet. He continues to play by "society's rules"--when he's sad, he sees no solution other than shopping, just as his friends and neighbors do.

Rick's interaction with Iran in this passage is important because it brings up the idea of apathy in contrast to empathy. While the human characters in the novel define themselves according to their ability to empathize with others, they're more notable for their disillusionment with emotional connection of any kind whatsoever. Rick has previously felt disconnected from his depressed wife, and here, when he reaches out to her and opens up about his feelings, she interrupts him to discuss money. Both characters, struggling to feel an emotional bond with anyone or anything, can only attempt an apathetic, futile solution to their problems--shopping therapy.

Chapter 20 Quotes

"Rick," she said, "I have to tell you something. I'm sorry. The goat is dead."

For some reason it did not surprise him; it only made him feel worse, a quantitative addition to the weight shrinking him from every side. "I think there's a guarantee in the contract," he said. "If it gets sick within ninety days the dealer — "
"It didn't get sick. Someone" — Iran cleared her throat and went on huskily — "someone came here, got the goat out of its cage, and dragged it to the edge of the roof."
"And pushed it off?" he said.
"Yes." She nodded.
"Did you see who did it?"
"I saw her very clearly," Iran said. "Barbour was still up here fooling around; he came down to get me and we called the police, but by then the animal was dead and she had left. A small young-looking girl with dark hair and large black eyes, very thin. Wearing a long fishscale coat. She had a mail-pouch purse. And she made no effort to keep us from seeing her. As if she didn't care."

Related Characters: Rick Deckard (speaker), Iran Deckard (speaker), Rachael Rosen , Bill Barbour
Page Number: 226-227
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Rick Deckard, who's just finished retiring the final androids on his list, returns to his home. There, his wife Iran gives him some bad news: his prized goat (which he's paid for using the bounty from retiring the androids) has been pushed off the roof. Based on Iran's description, we can tell that it was Rachael, furious with Deckard for killing more androids after her attempts to dissuade him from doing so, who killed the goat.

Rachael's behavior is petty, spiteful, furious--and, in short, eminently human. Throughout the novel, there have been many attempts to define human nature. While most of the characters in the book believe that to be human is to feel empathy, Dick suggests that being human is a much uglier, nastier business. Rachael's decision to kill the goat is arguably more recognizably human than any of the acts of empathy we witness in the novel.

Chapter 22 Quotes

"Do you want to use the mood organ? To feel better? You always have gotten a lot out of it, more than I ever have."
"I'll be okay." He shook his head, as if trying to clear it, still bewildered. "The spider Mercer gave the chickenhead, Isidore; it probably was artificial, too. But it doesn't matter. The electric things have their lives, too. Paltry as those lives are."

Related Characters: Rick Deckard (speaker), Iran Deckard (speaker), John Isidore , Al Jarry / Wilbur Mercer
Related Symbols: The Mood Organ, The Toad
Page Number: 241
Explanation and Analysis:

Back in his home, Rick Deckard is disappointed to discover that the "miraculous" toad he found in the middle of the desert is just an electronic toy, and therefore not very valuable at all. Rick is frustrated--he'd thought that his toad would bring him lots of money, and that its discovery was a kind of religious miracle.

Yet in spite of his frustration, Rick still seems to experience an epiphany in this passage. Rick has been trained to believe that things are "real" if and only if they pass a rigorous test: if they can be purchased for a high price in a store; if they pass a Voigt-Kampff test, etc. Here, however, Rick seems to change his mind. Even a fake spider has its own kind of life. Rick characterizes the life of a robotic spider as "paltry"--but of course, the life of a "real" animal (or a real human being!) is just as paltry in the grand scheme of things.

What Rick realizes about animals applies to robots and people, too. Even robots, it's implied, have lives, thoughts, and feelings. Dick subtly implies the shift in Rick's thinking by noting that Rick refuses to use the mood organ. Rick refuses to accept socially-approved definitions of emotion, humanity, or life. Instead, he chooses to feel his own emotions and construct his own definitions of life and human nature.

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Iran Deckard Character Timeline in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

The timeline below shows where the character Iran Deckard appears in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Perception, Reality, and Power Theme Icon
Memory Theme Icon
Commodification and Consumerism Theme Icon
Rick Deckard wakes up in bed next to his wife, Iran. He whispers to Iran that she’s set her “alarm clock” too low—a jolt of electricity... (full context)
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
Perception, Reality, and Power Theme Icon
Animals and the Environment Theme Icon
Commodification and Consumerism Theme Icon
...and thinks about buying a real sheep, as opposed to the electric one he and Iran own. As he thinks, he fiddles with a small machine, a “mood organ,” that can... (full context)
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
Commodification and Consumerism Theme Icon
Iran continues talking about her mood settings. She mentions 481—the mood setting that corresponds to a... (full context)
Chapter 8
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
Perception, Reality, and Power Theme Icon
Rick gets a call from Iran. Iran tells Rick that she’s sad and tired, and Rick impatiently says that he has... (full context)
Chapter 10
Perception, Reality, and Power 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... (full context)
Chapter 11
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
Perception, Reality, and Power Theme Icon
Memory Theme Icon
Commodification and Consumerism Theme Icon
...other details of his day so far. The reason another woman answered when he called Iran, Garland tells him, is that the entire building is wired with fake phones, designed to... (full context)
Chapter 15
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
Perception, Reality, and Power Theme Icon
Animals and the Environment Theme Icon
Commodification and Consumerism Theme Icon
Rick returns to his home, where he finds Iran waiting for him. He tells his wife that he retired three androids that day, and... (full context)
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
Perception, Reality, and Power Theme Icon
Animals and the Environment Theme Icon
Commodification and Consumerism Theme Icon
Rick and Iran grip the handles of the empathy box. As Rick does so, he realizes what Iran... (full context)
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
The phone rings, and Iran answers it—it’s Harry Bryant. Bryant tells Rick that he’s tracked down two of the remaining... (full context)
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
Perception, Reality, and Power Theme Icon
Animals and the Environment Theme Icon
Commodification and Consumerism Theme Icon
Rick hangs up the phone and grips the empathy box with Iran. He sees a vision of Mercer, an old and frail man. Mercer tells him, “There... (full context)
Chapter 20
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
Perception, Reality, and Power Theme Icon
Animals and the Environment Theme Icon
Commodification and Consumerism Theme Icon
Rick returns to his apartment, where he finds Iran waiting for him. Iran tells Rick that their goat has died. Rick, oddly, doesn’t find... (full context)
Chapter 21
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
Perception, Reality, and Power Theme Icon
Memory Theme Icon
Animals and the Environment Theme Icon
Commodification and Consumerism Theme Icon
...with Mercer, and cannot unfuse himself. Before Ann hangs up, she tells Rick to call Iran soon—Iran has been wondering where Rick is. (full context)
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
Perception, Reality, and Power Theme Icon
Memory Theme Icon
...in the way she’d expected. He picks up the phone in his car to call Iran. (full context)
Chapter 22
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
Perception, Reality, and Power Theme Icon
Animals and the Environment Theme Icon
...the toad, and realizes that he’s seeing the world through Mercer’s eyes. Excited to show Iran what he’s found, Rick drives back to San Francisco. (full context)
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
Perception, Reality, and Power Theme Icon
Animals and the Environment Theme Icon
Commodification and Consumerism Theme Icon
Iran sits in the apartment next to the mood organ. There’s a sudden knock—it’s Rick, with... (full context)
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
Perception, Reality, and Power Theme Icon
Animals and the Environment Theme Icon
Commodification and Consumerism Theme Icon
Iran inspects the toad carefully. She finds an electric switch on the toad’s abdomen—it’s just a... (full context)
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
Perception, Reality, and Power Theme Icon
Animals and the Environment Theme Icon
Commodification and Consumerism Theme Icon
Rick tells Iran that he’s going to sleep, since he needs rest. Iran nods and tells him that... (full context)