Parable of the Sower

Keith Olamina Character Analysis

Keith is Lauren’s brother, the eldest son of Reverend Olamina and Cory. He is 12 when the book starts and is stubborn, reckless, and often cruel. He is desperate to grow up quickly and dreams of moving to Los Angeles. After being given a BB gun for his 13th birthday, he begins to leave the neighborhood and earn money of his own accord, assumedly by dealing drugs. Before long, he is tortured and killed.

Keith Olamina Quotes in Parable of the Sower

The Parable of the Sower quotes below are all either spoken by Keith Olamina or refer to Keith Olamina. 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:
Religion, Hope, and Change Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Grand Central Publishing edition of Parable of the Sower published in 2000.
Chapter 10 Quotes

May he rest in peace––in his urn, in heaven, wherever.

Related Characters: Lauren Olamina (speaker), Keith Olamina
Related Symbols: Heaven
Page Number: 115
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 14 Quotes

Some kind of insane burn-the-rich movement, Keith had said. We've never been rich, but to the desperate, we looked rich. We were surviving and we had our wall. Did our community die so that addicts could make a help-the-poor political statement?

Related Characters: Lauren Olamina (speaker), Keith Olamina
Related Symbols: Fire
Page Number: 163
Explanation and Analysis:
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Keith Olamina Character Timeline in Parable of the Sower

The timeline below shows where the character Keith Olamina appears in Parable of the Sower. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Religion, Hope, and Change Theme Icon
Inclusion vs. Exclusion Theme Icon
Creation, Destruction, and Rebirth Theme Icon
Truth vs. Denial Theme Icon
Writing, Books, and Scripture Theme Icon
...the kids just like the adventure of going beyond the neighborhood wall. Lauren’s 12-year-old brother Keith is also being baptized, though he doesn’t care about religion (or anything else). He is... (full context)
Religion, Hope, and Change Theme Icon
Inclusion vs. Exclusion Theme Icon
...daughter in a tiny gated community, she sometimes wishes she didn’t. Along with Lauren’s brothers Keith and Marcus, there are four other kids about to be baptized, including Curtis Talcott. Lauren... (full context)
Chapter 8
Inclusion vs. Exclusion Theme Icon
Creation, Destruction, and Rebirth Theme Icon
...still come, even though their uncle Wardell has been saying rude things about Lauren’s father. Keith, who is almost 13, begged to come even though he knows he is not allowed... (full context)
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Creation, Destruction, and Rebirth Theme Icon
Soon, Lauren’s father shouts for her to come inside the house. Keith is lying on the kitchen floor, wounded and filthy, surrounded by their siblings. Keith explains... (full context)
Religion, Hope, and Change Theme Icon
Inclusion vs. Exclusion Theme Icon
The next day Keith is forced to confess what he did at church and apologize to his parents, the... (full context)
Chapter 9
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...Earthseed scripture that opens this chapter states that “all struggles are essentially power struggles.” On Keith’s birthday, Lauren’s father and Cory give him a BB gun. Keith shoots birds, threatens to... (full context)
Inclusion vs. Exclusion Theme Icon
Creation, Destruction, and Rebirth Theme Icon
The next day there is still no sign of Keith. Cory seems to believe that he is dead, and accuses Lauren’s father of not trying... (full context)
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Two days later, Keith reappears without a scratch, wearing new clothes and shoes. Lauren’s father immediately destroys the BB... (full context)
Chapter 10
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Creation, Destruction, and Rebirth Theme Icon
The narrative jumps ahead to the year 2026. Lauren writes that Keith has come back again. He is almost 14 now, and very tall. Keith tells Lauren... (full context)
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Creation, Destruction, and Rebirth Theme Icon
Truth vs. Denial Theme Icon
Lauren knows Keith is lying, and that he must be earning money through theft or selling drugs. Keith... (full context)
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Keith admits that he stole $23,000 from a man who’d come to LA from Alaska, before... (full context)
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That evening, Keith gives presents to the family and offers to bring something for Lauren next time, but... (full context)
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Two days later, Cory and Lauren’s father have to go downtown to identify Keith’s body. Lauren is unable to write for three days. On Saturday, she says that writing... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...younger men arrived and killed two of the thieves. This is the seventh “incident” since Keith’s death, and Lauren notes the irony of the fact that her father and Cory have... (full context)
Religion, Hope, and Change Theme Icon
Inclusion vs. Exclusion Theme Icon
Creation, Destruction, and Rebirth Theme Icon
...dangerous… but it’s precious, too.” Cory bursts into tears and later Lauren finds her clutching Keith’s urn in her room. (full context)
Chapter 13
Inclusion vs. Exclusion Theme Icon
Creation, Destruction, and Rebirth Theme Icon
Writing, Books, and Scripture Theme Icon
...find a way to come home. Lauren writes that this uncertainty makes it worse than Keith’s death. She tells herself that her father must be dead—“that’s that.” Two days later, an... (full context)
Chapter 15
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Creation, Destruction, and Rebirth Theme Icon
...is filthy and smelly. There are a few young men around who remind Lauren of Keith; she watches them warily. She keeps her gun loaded and half-hidden in its holster. Lauren... (full context)