Punta Nublada

In Fledgling, the later half of the story is set in a place named Punta Nublada in California (133). In my initial reading, this caught my eye. Being a native Spanish speaker, I quickly made the translation that Punta Nublada in English is “Cloudy Point”. I was immediately intrigued when I noticed this and I was hoping that Butler would mention the translation at some point, which she didn’t do. I thought of this as Butler making a clever joke that was out in the open and if you spoke Spanish, you would get the joke. It almost seemed like an indirect communication between her and her readers to see if they were paying attention and I interpreted it as a vampire joke. Traditionally in vampire stories and in Fledgling, vampires (except Shori) are powerless against the sun so I found it funny that the place in which this Ina family resides is named “Cloudy Point” because they cannot be in a sunny location.

At first I considered this a funny anecdote, but after discussing it with Dr. McCoy, I realized this was another way for Butler to allude to the idea of boundaries and consent. In this colony of Ina and symbionts, there is sort of this hazy idea of what is right and it’s something that Shori consults with a lot throughout the novel. As she is trying to recover from memory loss, there are a few things that are continuously unclear to her such as, who is trying to kill her and her family? How does she protect her symbionts? How does she start a new life on her own while being responsible for her symbionts? Who killed Theodora? What happens next? I find it interesting that the place where she tries to make clear of these things are in a part of the world labeled as a ‘Cloudy Point’ because it seems like a clear (haha) connection between Shori’s experiences and her current setting. As readers, we also have to contend with unclear boundaries along with Shori because as our narrator, she is responsible for clueing us into the world that Butler has built. Since we currently (to our knowledge) do not live in a world with Ina, we too have to wonder where the boundaries lie with Ina and their symbionts as well as between the Ina families. There are many places where things are unclear for both us and Shori and the name of our setting could be Butler’s way of reminding us of that.

Although Brook mentions that their community is not in a “real town” (133), of course I did a quick Google search to confirm whether or not this was a real place, unsurprisingly, it’s not. It’s simply another opportunity for Butler to make sure that we are paying attention.

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