Parable of the Sower

Acorns Symbol Analysis

Acorns Symbol Icon

Acorns feature throughout the book as a symbol of new life, hope, and possibility. When Lauren is living with her family in the neighborhood, they regularly eat acorn bread. It is only later that Lauren’s father explains that they make and consume acorn bread because he read in a book that Native Americans used acorns in this manner. This demonstrates Lauren’s father’s belief in innovatively creating (or recreating) new ways of living, a principle he passed onto his daughter. Acorns are also important at the very end of the novel, when the group of people who settle on Bankole’s property decide to ritualistically plant oak trees using acorns as part of their mass funeral. Again, this emphasizes the extent to which acorns symbolize the rebirth that is inherent within the natural world. Acorns fall from grown trees and are planted in soil, feeding on the nutrients provided by dead plants in order to grow into new trees. Fittingly, the new community decide to call their home “Acorn” as a tribute to this sense of new life in the midst of death and destruction. This also links the community’s home base to the religious principles around which they have congregated: Earthseed. Acorns are, after all, a type of seed, and the Biblical Parable of the Sower after which the book is named—and which is included in full at the very end of the narrative—focuses on the importance of planting seeds in “good ground” in order for those seeds to grow and flourish. Despite the apocalyptic landscape in which the characters live, they can plant acorns both metaphorically and literally in the “good ground” of their community and thereby find hope in a new, better way of life.

Acorns Quotes in Parable of the Sower

The Parable of the Sower quotes below all refer to the symbol of Acorns. 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 25 Quotes

So today we remembered the friends and the family members we've lost. We spoke our individual memories and quoted Bible passages, Earthseed verses, and bits of songs and poems that were favorites of the living or the dead.
Then we buried our dead and we planted oak trees.
Afterward, we sat together and talked and ate a meal and decided to call this place Acorn.

Related Characters: Lauren Olamina (speaker)
Related Symbols: Acorns
Page Number: 328
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Parable of the Sower quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!

A sower went out to sow his seed:
and as he sowed, some fell by the
way side; and it was trodden down,
and the fowls of the air devoured
it. And some fell upon a rock; and
as soon as it was sprung up, it
withered away because it lacked
moisture. And some fell among
thorns; and the thorns sprang up
with it, and choked it. And others
fell on good ground, and sprang up,
and bore fruit an hundredfold.

Related Characters: Lauren Olamina (speaker)
Related Symbols: Acorns
Page Number: 328-329
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire Parable of the Sower LitChart as a printable PDF.
The parable of the sower.pdf.medium

Acorns Symbol Timeline in Parable of the Sower

The timeline below shows where the symbol Acorns appears in Parable of the Sower. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5
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
...will “blast the gate open.” Joanne refuses to believe this. Lauren takes a bite of acorn bread—one of her favorite foods—yet cannot even taste it. (full context)
Chapter 6
Religion, Hope, and Change Theme Icon
Creation, Destruction, and Rebirth Theme Icon
Truth vs. Denial Theme Icon
Writing, Books, and Scripture Theme Icon
...used them. Lauren’s father smiles and explains the book is the reason why they eat acorn bread, which is not generally consumed in America. (full context)
Chapter 10
Inclusion vs. Exclusion Theme Icon
Creation, Destruction, and Rebirth Theme Icon
...is, and Keith replies that of course they don’t. Lauren cooks them rabbit stew and acorn bread. After years of mutual dislike, Keith now talks to Lauren more than anyone else... (full context)
Chapter 25
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
...has left dead loved ones behind without a chance to say goodbye. She has enough acorns for each lost person. (full context)
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
...They bury the bones and plant oak trees, and decide to call their new home “Acorn.” The novel ends with the Parable of the Sower from the Bible, which is about... (full context)