At the end of the novel, Rick Deckard discovers a toad crawling through the desert. Although Rick believes that the toad is alive, and therefore highly valuable, he discovers that it’s actually just a machine, placed in the desert by an unknown explorer. As Rick describes the toad—a resilient creature capable of surviving anywhere, even a post-nuclear desert—it becomes increasingly clear that the animal is a symbol for humanity, which has somehow braved the ravages of its own world wars. Importantly, Rick then continues to value the toad even after he learns that it’s robotic. This is a crucial turning point in the book—it suggests that Rick has come to find humanity even in androids, or else has become even more lost in the question of just what is “real” and what is “fake.”
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
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The timeline below shows where the symbol The Toad appears in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...While Rick sleeps, Iran calls the pet store and orders artificial flies for the artificial toad. The store salesman suggests that Iran bring in the toad for periodic “tongue adjustments,” and... (full context)