Who’s to blame

In response to Sabrina’s most recent post about the question of who is to blame in the Octavia Butler works we examined this semester. I want to agree with Sabrina and add on that this has been something I have really struggled with these works. Butler writes novels with no set antagonist to blame. As a reader I was trapped into these loops where I was blaming whomever was easiest. For example, in Clay’s Ark I wanted to blame Eli for spreading the disease even though he was not 100% to blame. When looking back at this novel, when the farm enclave is infected its due to their own mistake of touching Eli while he was injured by their dogs. As a reader my instinct was to interject that Eli still could have told them. But reading that scene again it is clear this is not the case because Eli was so weakened by the attack. I felt similarly for the Ooloi in Lilith’s Brood and the Ina in Fledgling. This need in me makes me wonder what message Butler is conveying by creating these traps. As human beings we assume our ‘needs’ are more important than any other species. The need to eat, sleep, drink, breathe, etc is foremost on our list and yet when I read these books I did not equalize the other species need with my own.

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