The book’s heroine, Lauren Olamina, is the daughter of a Baptist minister who founds her own religion, Earthseed, in the midst of the apocalyptic disintegration of the United States. The novel begins with Lauren’s conflicted feelings about Christianity on the eve of her baptism, and ends with a mass funeral service in which pieces of Christian and Earthseed scripture are read side by side. One of the most important aspects of the narrative arc…(read full theme analysis)
The first half of the book takes place within Lauren’s gated community, and this immediately brings to light the importance of exclusion. As the United States becomes increasingly brutal and apocalyptic, people are more and more desperate to close themselves off from the violence and destruction taking over the country. Whereas the very rich are able to live safely within highly-securitized communities and can flee dangerous areas via helicopter, middle-class people like Lauren and…(read full theme analysis)
Throughout the novel Lauren presents herself as someone who seeks truth while those around her remain in a state of denial. Indeed, this is part of what marks her out as different from those around her, allowing her to survive the horror of her conditions and work to build a better future.
Ideas about truth and denial are introduced right at the beginning of the book, when Lauren is preparing to be baptized. Lauren is…(read full theme analysis)
The novel consists of a series of diary entries by Lauren, and thus the entire narrative is mediated by the act of writing. Although her diary entries are highly detailed and seemingly comprehensive, Lauren draws attention to the gaps and biases within them. For example, the entry for Wednesday 26th August 2026 is only one line long: “Today, my parents had to go downtown to identify the body of my brother Keith,” and…(read full theme analysis)