Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Quotes and Analysis

"'Emigrate or degenerate! The choice is yours!'"

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, 6.

This quote is the government's tag line for encouraging people to emigrate from earth to Mars. Though governmental authority does not play as large a role in this novel as in some of other Dick novels, this quote does illustrate the American government's own degeneration after World War Terminus. The government hopes to persuade people that the only way to regenerate society is in a new land, yet as the novel progresses, glimpses of new life on earth are seen.

"...ultimately, the empathic gift blurred the boundaries between hunter and victim, between the successful and the defeated."

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, 29.

This quote illustrates the binary oppositions that Dick attempts to first frame, then to tear apart. In this quote, Rick Deckard ponders the vague lines drawn between those creatures that are empathetic and those things which do not have that ability. One of the novel's major themes revolves around the question of what traits make something human and what trait ensures survival or defeat.

"There's the First Law of Kipple…'Kipple drives out nonkipple'."

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, 63.

Kipple is Dick's reflection on the nature of accumulated stuffs. More than just clutter, Kipple is a spiritual and transcendent reflection of humanity's desire to collect commodities and then let them degrade and degenerate as they collect. Kipple is worthless, but it is also dangerous because it builds on itself and it encourages and causes everything around it to degrade as well.

"The electric things have their life too. Paltry as those lives are."

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, 239.

This quote is spoken by Rick after Iran finds the mechanical panel on the toad that Rick believed was real. Rick is resigned to the falseness of the animal, but his new found empathetic capacity allows him to begin to appreciate even this form of false life. Before, he had loathed his electric sheep. Now, however, he is able to see the value in even a "paltry" life.

"You will be required to do wrong no matter where you go. It is the basic condition of life, to be required to violate your own identity."

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, 177.

This quote is spoken by Mercer as he tells Rick that he must go on and complete the mission of killing the Nexus-6 androids. Rick believes that he must quit killing them because of his new found empathy towards androids, but Mercer tells him that life requires many things which will cause him do things he thinks are wrong. This teaching from Mercer blurs the lines between the novel's morality and shows that empathy is not always an emotion that creates only good.

"An android doesn’t care what happens to another android. That’s one of the indications we look for."

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, 99.

This quote is spoken by Rick as he interrogates Luba Luft to determine if she is an android. This quote is ironic because, as it turns out, some androids do care what happens to other androids, perhaps even more than they care about what happens to human life. It was these, supposedly, artificial bonds that kept the Nexus-6 androids together and made them fear for the safety of each other. In the end, if androids do care for other androids, it becomes impossible to tell who is really an android and who is not, just another of the book's twists in logic.

“… classed as biologically unacceptable, a menace to the pristine heredity of the race. Once pegged as special, a citizen, even if accepting sterilization, dropped out of history. He ceased, in effect, to be part of mankind.”

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, 14.

This quote expresses the fear that Rick Deckard and the other inhabitants of earth lived with and the reality for a mentally disabled person such as John Isidore. The radioactive dust caused many to become mentally deficient and this meant that they were treated as second class citizens. This quote illustrates the false structures of hierarchy that humanity set up for itself which allowed mentally deficient people and androids to be classed as less than human even when they showed more empathy and humanity than those that were superior to them.

"In front of him he distinguished a shadowy figure, motionless. 'Wilbur Mercer! Is that you?' My god, he realized; it's my shadow."

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, 229.

This quote is from the novels climactic scene in which Rick finds full fusion with the religious messiah figure of Mercer. Rick discovers that what Mercer represents is not simply a religion of distraction, but a path towards the survival of humanity in the shared suffering of the collective. This fusion allows Rick to regain the empathetic ability he had lost by killing all the Nexus-6 androids.

"If I test out android," Phil Resch prattled, "you'll undergo renewed faith in the human race. But since it's not going to work out that way, I suggest you begin framing n ideology which will account for-"

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, 138.

This quote, spoken to Rick by the bounty hunter Phil Resch, is said just before Rick administers a test on Phil to determine if the reason he is able to so coldly kill is because he is actually an android. If he is, this will validate Rick's belief that androids have no empathy for life and can become completely closed to all human emotion. However, as Rick discovers, humans have this same ability, blurring the distinction between what is real and what is not.

"Do androids dream? Rick asked himself."

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, 182.

This quote reflects the title of the book and the basic philosophical question that the book asks: what qualities and traits makes one human. Roy Baty, Rick's shadow character, seems to have just as many dreams as Rick himself does; dreams for a better life and for the ability to have spiritual fusion with Mercer. Yet, Rick is sent to kill them as if they did not dream. This conflict frames the novel's debate over the value of life.