Lauren continues to develop her own beliefs about God. She calls her new belief system, revolving around the idea of God as Change, Earthseed. She does not feel she is making anything up, just discovering the truth of life.
By June, 2025, Lauren has managed to assemble a small survival pack for herself, including a few hundred dollars in savings, matches, water bottles, clothes, dried fruit, dried milk, and anything else she thinks might be useful. But her father refused to let her have a gun. He has no intention of leaving their home, but Lauren already has the idea of traveling north to Oregon, Washington, or Canada, where water is more plentiful and food is cheaper. Her father says there are no jobs up there, and the borders are closed anyway.
Lauren hears on the radio that astronomers based on the moon have discovered many new planets. She guesses that life exists on many of them, and she conceives the idea that it is the eventual destiny of the human race to live on another planet. On her sixteenth birthday, she writes in her journal, “The Destiny of Earthseed / Is to take root among the stars.”
Tracy Dunn, the mother of Amy, disappears and is presumed dead. Meanwhile, Laurens seventeen-year-old friend, Bianca Montoya, is pregnant. All she wants to do is marry her boyfriend, Jorge Iturbe, and continue to live in the neighborhood, with poor housing and no prospects. Lauren has no intention of following in her footsteps. If that was all she had to look forward to, she says she would kill herself.
While Lauren and the others are out at target practice, her thirteen-year-old brother Keith, unhappy because he is too young to be included, slips out of the house and leaves the neighborhood. Just as his father is about to go out and search for him, he returns, half-naked and bleeding. The five men who attacked him stole the gate key he had taken with him. This means that the entire neighborhood is now vulnerable, until the lock can be changed. His father is furious.
The following morning at church Keith has to confess what he did, in front of the whole congregation, and apologize for it.
Two weeks later, Keith goes missing again. He takes with him the BB gun his parents gave him for his birthday. This time Keith is gone for two weeks. He returns home wearing new clothes, but refuses to say where he has been or what he has been doing. His father beats him severely. Lauren is badly affected too, since she feels Keiths pain as if it were her own.
About seven weeks later, in October, Keith disappears again. This time he takes a gun with him. His father refuses to go out and look for him. Keith returns about ten days later, while his father is out. He brings money with him and gives it to Cory, his mother. He does not say where he got it, but Lauren and Cory know it must be stolen or drug money. Keith leaves again before his father comes home. Cory is upset and warns Keith that he may get killed.
These chapters continue to develop the plot and build the tension. The dangers of living in Robledo are dramatized by the story of Keith. Like his sister Lauren, he is also ready to challenge the authority of his family. But since he is younger and more immature than Lauren, he goes about it in a more thoughtless and destructive way.
Lauren has told her friend Joanne that it is only a matter of time before the neighborhood is completely overrun by the desperate people who live outside its walls, and the reader feels that that moment cannot be far away. Laurens independence of mind, her leadership qualities, and her intention to shape her own future are further emphasized.
The author also begins an allegorical aspect of her story here. Lauren, an African-American girl, has her eyes on traveling north. As the novel develops, a parallel will emerge between her northward journey and the journeys made by black slaves in the nineteenth century, who also had to journey north to find their freedom.