Why does the story of Parable matter/why is it still important today?
The story of Parable is important because it reinforces the need for us to recognize the social inequity that continues to exist today. The “Parable of the Sower” was written in 1993, and the plot begins in 2024. As we are on the eve of 2024, it is almost frightening how accurate Butler’s narrative is, and it most certainly catastrophic that we are still fighting the same fight regarding social inequity.
And what about the author, Octavia Butler? Why is she so important?
Octavia Butler helped to pave the road for Black women, and women in general, into science fiction, the Black Fantastic, and Afrofuturism. She showed the world the power of a Black woman’s imagination. She is the epitome of “Black girl magic,” crafting a space where we explore and express our intersectionality and our place in the past, present, and the future. Butler wrote herself, and other Black women, into a space where they were previously only seen as objects. When I read contemporary writers like Nalo Hopkinson, Tananarive Due, and Nnedi Okorafor, I am reminded that they can write and publish because of the foundation that Butler started.
What are you excited about with the community partnerships/read-along?
I studied literature because it was my way of understanding the world we live in. Writers like Octavia Butler helped give me the words and the vocabulary I needed to articulate my own experiences. This community partnership/read-along will provide us with a space to talk openly about our intersected communities, how our stories are similar and how they are different. In “Parable of the Sower,” Butler writes that we must, “embrace diversity.” For us to do this, we must have dialogue. This community partnership/read-along is creating a space for necessary dialogue.
How will this benefit/impact Point Park students?
This community partnership/read-along will expose students to a brilliant writer who has largely impacted the African-American literary canon. Students will have the opportunity to engage in conversation with the community around them about issues that were relevant in 1993, that are still relevant today, that we want to make irrelevant in 2054. This is an opportunity for students to share their voices and help shape future conversation around social inequity.