Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

John Isidore is a slow-thinking young man whose genes have been damaged by radiation, described both as a “special” man and as a “chickenhead.” He lives in an abandoned apartment building in San Francisco. John is an active participant in the rituals of Mercerism, a religion that puts him in touch with Wilbur Mercer and supposedly boosts his empathy. Because of his low IQ and poor health, John is unable to leave the Earth for another, better planet. Alone in his apartment, Mercerism is the only thing that gives his life meaning, and the only thing that gives him even a simulacrum of human contact. At times, it’s suggested that John is the only moral character in the novel—the only one who sincerely believes that all life (even that of androids) has value, and that other people deserve his respect. In the end, John remains a proud practitioner of Mercerism, despite all the evidence that Mercerism is only a hoax.

John Isidore Quotes in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

The Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? quotes below are all either spoken by John Isidore or refer to John Isidore. 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 2 Quotes

He found himself, instead, as always before, entering into the landscape of drab hill, drab sky. And at the same time he no longer witnessed the climb of the elderly man. His own feet now scraped, sought purchase, among the familiar loose stones; he felt the same old painful, irregular roughness beneath his feet and once again smelled the acrid haze of the sky — not Earth's sky but that of some place alien, distant, and yet, by means of the empathy box, instantly available.

Related Characters: John Isidore, Al Jarry / Wilbur Mercer
Related Symbols: The Empathy Box
Page Number: 22
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 7 Quotes

Maybe Buster is jealous, Isidore conjectured. Sure, that would explain it; he and Wilbur Mercer are in competition. But for what?
Our minds, Isidore decided. They're fighting for control of our psychic selves; the empathy box on one hand, Buster's guffaws and off-the-cuff jibes on the other. I'll have to tell Hannibal Sloat that, he decided. Ask him if it's true; he'll know.

Related Characters: John Isidore (speaker), Al Jarry / Wilbur Mercer, Buster Friendly, Hannibal Sloat
Related Symbols: The Empathy Box
Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 13 Quotes

"Stories written before space travel but about space travel."
"How could there have been stories about space travel before — "
"The writers," Pris said, "made it up."
"Based on what?"
"On imagination. A lot of times they turned out wrong. For example they wrote about Venus being a jungle paradise with huge monsters and women in breastplates that glistened." She eyed him. "Does that interest you? Big women with long braided blond hair and gleaming breastplates the size of melons?"
"No," he said.

Related Characters: John Isidore (speaker), Pris Stratton (speaker)
Page Number: 151
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 14 Quotes

"The chickenhead," Pris said, "likes me."
"Don't call him that, Pris," Irmgard said; she gave Isidore a look of compassion. "Think what he could call you."

Related Characters: Pris Stratton (speaker), Irmgard Baty (speaker), John Isidore
Page Number: 159
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 18 Quotes

"No, it's that empathy," Irmgard said vigorously. Fists clenched, she roved into the kitchen, up to Isidore. "Isn't it a way of proving that humans can do something we can't do? Because without the Mercer experience we just have your word that you feel this empathy business, this shared, group thing. How's the spider?"

Related Characters: Irmgard Baty (speaker), John Isidore, Al Jarry / Wilbur Mercer
Related Symbols: The Empathy Box
Page Number: 209-210
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 22 Quotes

I'm a special, he thought. Something has happened to me. Like the chickenhead Isidore and his spider; what happened to him is happening to me. Did Mercer arrange it? But I'm Mercer. I arranged it; I found the toad. Found it because I see through Mercer's eyes.

Related Characters: Rick Deckard (speaker), John Isidore, Al Jarry / Wilbur Mercer
Related Symbols: The Toad
Page Number: 237
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

"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:

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John Isidore Character Timeline in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

The timeline below shows where the character John Isidore appears in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
Perception, Reality, and Power Theme Icon
Animals and the Environment Theme Icon
Commodification and Consumerism Theme Icon
John Isidore sits in the abandoned building, shaving his face and watching the TV. He’s lived... (full context)
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
Before he leaves for work, John touches his “empathy box.” He grips the handles of this machine and feels an electric... (full context)
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
Perception, Reality, and Power Theme Icon
Memory Theme Icon
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Still gripping the handles of the empathy box, John, taking on Mercer’s personality, remembers “his” foster parents: they took care of him after they... (full context)
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
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John releases the handles of the empathy box and finds himself back in his room. He... (full context)
Chapter 6
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John Isidore sits in his building, watching television. Suddenly, a frail-looking young woman walks into his... (full context)
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John shows the woman an area in the apartment where she can sleep. He asks her... (full context)
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John tells the woman that he’s going to work soon. He asks her to fix some... (full context)
Chapter 7
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John Isidore is now alone in his apartment—Pris Stratton has just left. He goes to his... (full context)
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As he goes through his day, John listens to a radio show hosted by Buster Friendly, a famous and ubiquitous media personality.... (full context)
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John crosses paths with his boss, Hannibal Sloat. He tells Hannibal his theory about Friendly competing... (full context)
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John goes to meet with Mrs. Pilsen, the woman whose fake cat got sick, and explains... (full context)
Chapter 13
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John Isidore is driving his hovercraft from his job. At the apartment building where he lives,... (full context)
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Inside the apartment building, John tells Pris that he feels sorry for her, since she seems to have no friends.... (full context)
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John proceeds to cook dinner—peaches, cheese, bean curd, etc. As John works, Pris—much to John’s surprise—puts... (full context)
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
Perception, Reality, and Power Theme Icon
...says, “It’s Roy and Irmgard. We got your card.” Pris quickly writes a note, telling John to go to the door at once to confirm these people’s identities. John opens the... (full context)
Chapter 14
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Roy and Irmgard have just entered John Isidore’s apartment. Roy, Pris, and Irmgard speak in private for a moment before addressing John.... (full context)
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John overhears Roy talking with Pris and Irmgard. Nervously, he tells Pris to do what Roy... (full context)
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Later in the day, John leads Pris to his TV room. He notices that Pris seems moody and frightened—Pris explains... (full context)
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Perception, Reality, and Power Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
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Pris tells Roy that John will never turn them in. Even though he could get a large reward by going... (full context)
Chapter 15
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
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...Pris vote on whether or not to stay in the apartment. Roy votes to kill John. Irmgard votes to stay in the apartment. Finally, Pris votes to stay with John. She... (full context)
Chapter 18
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Back in John Isidore’s apartment, Pris and John are watching TV. Buster Friendly is about to make an... (full context)
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
Animals and the Environment Theme Icon
Buster Friendly begins his announcement. As John watches, he notices a spider crawling on the floor of the apartment. He picks up... (full context)
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John Isidore, who’s been listening to Buster Friendly and the androids, feels sick. He sees the... (full context)
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In his delirious depression, John has a vision in which he sees animals—donkeys, spiders, etc. He cries out for Mercer,... (full context)
Chapter 19
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John Isidore finds himself gripping the handles of the empathy box—he just had a profound vision.... (full context)
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John goes downstairs. There, he finds a strange man holding a flashlight (a man whom we... (full context)
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Inside the building, Rick turns off his flashlight. He recognizes that John, whom he calls “the chickenhead,” knows that Roy and his followers are androids. Suddenly, he... (full context)
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...he hears a woman’s voice from behind a door, asking, “Who is it?” Rick, imitating John’s stutter, says that it’s John, coming back from his job. The woman who called to... (full context)
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Rick turns and finds John Isidore crying. Rick’s only consolation to John is, “Don’t take it so hard.” Then he... (full context)
Chapter 20
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...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... (full context)
Chapter 22
Humanity, Androids, and Empathy Theme Icon
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...place a fake toad in the middle of the desert. He remembers the spider that John Isidore mentioned to him, and thinks that the spider was probably fake, too. But even... (full context)