Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?


Philip K. Dick

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?: Chapter 20 Summary & Analysis

Rick has just told Harry Bryant that he’s successfully retired the remaining androids. Bryant is impressed with Rick’s work. He congratulates him and tells him to get some rest. Rick hangs up the phone and bids John goodbye. Rick remembers what Mercer told him—all humans are guaranteed to “do wrong” during their lives.
Mercer is like an ironic priest-figure—instead of scolding Rick for his sins, Mercer forgives everything Rick has done. Rick wants someone to chastise him for killing another being—whether it’s Mercer or Bryant doesn’t matter. Yet all he hears is praise.
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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 this surprising. Iran explains that someone pushed their goat off the roof of their building—a young, attractive woman. Iran also tells Rick that Buster Friendly has launched an exposé on Mercerism, revealing it to be fake. Rick, too weary to be upset about any of this information, thinks to himself that he needs to get away from his home soon. Perhaps he could go somewhere far away, where he can see stars at night.
In a strange way, Rick’s reaction to the news that Mercerism is fake isn’t so different from John’s reaction—neither one of them cares very much. They’ve both experienced vivid hallucinations of Mercer recently, suggesting that even if Mercer himself is a fraud, his religion has a kind of spiritual truth, even if it’s the most crassly commercial kind of spiritualism. It’s also important to note that Rachael’s revenge against Rick is petty and spiteful—killing his goat—but it’s also very human.
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