Lauren is a fifteen-year-old African-American girl who lives in Southern California in the year 2024. Her father is a Baptist minister, but she does not share his strict, unshakeable faith. She has an ability called hyperempathy - she can literally feel the pain of others. When her walled community is destroyed, she leads a band of survivors and eventually founds a new religion called Earthseed.
The oldest of Laura's brothers; he is twelve years old when the novel begins. He and Lauren dislike each other strongly, because she finds him a troublemaker and untrustworthy. He eventually leaves the neighborhood and joins a gang, and is violently murdered.
Cory (Corazon) Olumina
Lauren's stepmother, and the mother of Keith, Marcus, and Gregory. She is a woman of Hispanic origin, and has a PhD. She runs a small informal school for the neighborhood children. Along with Lauren's brothers, she is killed when the neighborhood falls.
The three-year-old daughter of Tracy Dunn; the product of incestuous rape, she is neglected heavily by her family and at one point sets fire to their garage. Lauren tries to take care of her, but she wanders near the gate and is shot.
The mother of Amy. She is uneducated and unattractive, possibly because of the abuse she has endured at the hands of her family.
Lauren's youngest brother, the son of Cory. He is killed when the neighborhood falls.
The father of Lauren and her brothers, and the husband of Cory. He is a Baptist minister and a college professor, and has a PhD. He is a leader in the community, and highly respected. He is strict and does not hesitate to hit his children to enforce discipline. He goes missing shortly before the neighborhood falls, and is presumed dead.
Taylor Franklin Bankole
A fifty-seven-year-old African-American doctor who joins Lauren's group on their way north. His wife was murdered in San Diego, and he is going north to join his sister. He and Lauren become lovers.
Gloria Natividad Douglas
The wife of Travis and the mother of their young son Diego. She and Travis left their employer because of his continued sexual harassment, and they join Lauren's group after she protects them from thieves who try to steal their water (they face unusual harassment because Natividad is Hispanic and her husband is black).
Travis Charles Douglas
The husband of Natividad. He worked as a handyman, but learned to read when his mother snuck him books from their employer's library. He asked Lauren many questions about Earthseed, and she considers him to be her first convert.
Dominic Douglas is the six-month-old son of Natividad and Travis Douglas.
Lauren's best friend in the neighborhood, until she betrays Lauren's trust by revealing and misrepresenting Lauren's plans to prepare for an attack on the neighborhood. Joanne and her family later move to Olivar, a company town on the coast.
A young white women who was forced into prostitution by her father. Her father also murdered her young son, so she and her sister Jill burned down the house with their father in it. They become part of Lauren's group and head north. Allie also adopts a little boy named Justin Ruhr, whose mother has died.
The sister of Allie. She is much quieter and more subdued than her sister, though she also took part in the murder of their cruel and violent father. Jill is killed rescuing Tori Solis when the group is attacked by pyro addicts.
A girl in Lauren's neighborhood who becomes pregnant at the age of seventeen. She and her boyfriend move in together, oblivious to the harsh poverty that they will face. Bianca's experience makes Lauren realize that she does not want the life that the neighborhood has to offer her.
The eight-year-old daughter of Grayson Mora. Like Lauren, she has hyperempathy and can share the pain of others.
The father of Doe. He is the last to join Lauren's group. Lauren does not trust him at first, but then she sees how deeply motivated he is by the love of his daughter.
A member of Lauren's neighborhood. He has invented his own religion, which combines elements of West African practices and the Old Testament, and he believes that women should be under the power of men. He has three wives and many children, and tells them that they should not mix with people of other races (he is African-American). He is killed when the neighborhood falls.
The only surviving wife of Richard Moss. She lived on the streets until she was fifteen, when Richard Moss bought her from her mother. She is extremely beautiful and intelligent, and possesses many skills that help the group survive on the road. Lauren later teaches her to read and write. She is African-American.
A white toddler who is taken in by Allie after his mother dies in a gunfight.
Emery Tanaka Solis
A twenty-three-year-old woman of mixed racial origins. Her father was Japanese and her mother was black. After the death of her Mexican husband, Emery found herself in debt slavery. When the company took her two sons, she decided to take her daughter Tori and run away. The two of them join Lauren's group.
The nine-year-old daughter of Emery. She has hyperempathy.
Lauren's boyfriend in the neighborhood. He shares Lauren's desire to leave the neighborhood and wants to marry her, but she tells him he needs to wait until she is eighteen. He is killed when the neighborhood falls.
Parable of the Sower Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Parable of the Sower is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Lauren survives in a dystopian world. The year 2024, environmental degradation and economic collapse have all but destroyed American society. Diseases like measles is rampant. The only safety is found in walled communities like the one Lauren...
Lauren shoots a dog her father has already shot in the head to kill it because she can feel its pain. After she shoots it, she continues to feel its pain, as it dies. She is, however, relieved that she does not die too.