Light Through Cracks
Through the convergence of Isidore’s and Deckard’s lives near the end, Dick employs a completely transitioned darkness to light motif to explore a balanced dichotomous paradigm of the real and synthetic as a transcending empowerment towards a trans-human collectivity. Traumatized by the androids’ cruel mutilation of a spider, Isidore holds the revived mechanical arachnid in his hands as he “step[s] outside…[comes] at last to the only verdant spot” in the apartment and “deposits [it]” (Dick 217). Reflective of Isidore’s isolated condition, the solitary mechanical spider is “deposited” from a dissonant, synthetic android environment to a safe “verdant spot,” a natural plot of land. Dick highlights that its release into nature is emblematic of a transformative dichotomy of the mechanical and natural that converges into a balance. Simultaneously, the two protagonists meet, and Deckard shines a “beam of yellow light” onto the spider (218). By introducing the two’s convergence with Deckard shining a “beam of yellow light” into Isidore’s life, Dick suggests the possibility that Deckard’s one-sided model of embracing the real shines a “light” of hope and completes Isidore’s paradigm of isolated synthetic experiences through a vicarious balanced transfer. Through this transitioning dark to light motif, Dick illuminates that Isidore’s vicarious contiguity allows him to “l-l-live deeper in town where there’s m-m-more people” and healthily confront his loneliness (225).
What does the toad symbolize in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? in the ending? What is its symbolic significance?
Similarly, Deckard also finds an animal, an electric toad “blended in totally with the texture” (237). Embracing the toad, Deckard accepts the electronic in his model and the idea that there are no true distinctions between the synthetic and authentic, like the electronic toad “blended totally” in the landscape to a point of invisibility. Through this darkness to light revelation, Dick lastly delineates Deckard’s newfound “peaceful co-existence” with the blurred synthetic and real as a means for a “posthuman collective” (Galvan 2). The posthuman collective is no longer a human-dominated model but a blurred amalgam of the electronic, ersatz, and human into a new trans-humanist collective.
Dick first uses incompletely transitioned darkness to light motifs to show that unbalanced dichotomies of the real and the unreal isolate the mindset to a narrow, unhealthy bandwidth. For Isidore, his isolation of the synthetic has prevented him from experiencing a true healthy collective. For Deckard, his isolation of the real has prevented him from perceiving the complexities and ambiguities of the world’s gray model. Yet, through the convergence and divergence of Isidore and Deckard to healthier lives, Dick employs completely transitioned darkness to light motifs to underscore a contiguous balance of the real and synthetic. He reveals that the blurred complexities of this transcending model does not shine light into an ordinary black and white human collective but into a new enlightened trans-humanist collective that may lead Isidore’s and Deckard’s world and even humanity today into a brighter future.
Dick, Philip K. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? New York: Random House Group, 1968. Print.
Galvan, Jill. Entering the Posthuman Collective in Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” Science Fiction Studies, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Nov., 1997), pp. 413-429. Print.
Vint, Sherryl. Speciesism and Species Being in “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” Mosaic (Winnipeg), Vol. 40, No.1 (Mar., 2007). Print.
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