Author: Catherine McCormick

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.  Read more

Freud’s Ego and Id in Dawn

Freud states that there is an ego and an id in each person. The ego is what a person believes they are, what decisions they make, and basically our sense of autonomy. The id is our subconscious desires, desires, the things we do without our conscious knowledge. While reading the first parts of Dawn by Butler I came up with kind of a crazy theory. What if Butler has placed the character of Lilith as the ego, and the race of the Extra-terrestrials as the id. For example, Lilith is pretty sure and set in who she is, she believes she makes conscious decisions, and wants to be in control. She isn’t in control though, the Extra-terrestrials are. They make sure she gets full nutrient value (although by the family chapters she’s allowed to choose what to eat), they make decisions about her life (such as changing her chemical compound to open doors), and w Read more

The ‘Love’ Hormone

The question Stephen asked Rone in Clays Ark was “What is the Chemical composition of Love?” I did some research on Oxytocin, otherwise known as the “love” hormone. Oxytocin acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain that regulates social interaction and sexual reproduction. This hormone is released in situations like sexual encounters, breastfeeding, birth, and when we hug or kiss someone we love. When this chemical is released in the brain it allows a person to trust and love another.

When thinking about the chemical composition of the Ina’s saliva that causes attachment and unconditional love of the Human symbionts, it’s easy to assume that oxytocin could have a part in this. The ‘love’ hormone is necessary to human being survival because it bonds not only protection and (in some cases procreation) pairs of people, but also parents and their children. Like human beings use of oxytocin for survival, the vampires need human beings to trust and obey them to survive. Before Wright Read more

Beauty is in the “eye”of the beholder.

In last Fridays class we analyzed the appearances of the word “eye” in Romeo and Juliet or its equivalent. I want to agree with Sandy’s analysis about how everyone in the novel is more concerned with how other characters look and how they will look together. For example (in my version) Act 1, line 85-88 Lady Capulet states “And what obscured in this fair volume lies; Find written in the margent of his eyes. This precious book of love, this unbound lover; To beautify him only lacks a cover”.  Lady Capulet begins her statement with how handsome Paris is, and then ends with how he is only lacking a wife and how much Juliet (and therefore her family) would gain from this union. It is not surprising that Juliet is so easily able to fall in love with the look of Romeo when considering the example that her parents set for finding and falling in love. One can see Juliet’s enactment of this cultural norm in her family from her lines ” I’ll look to like, and if looking liking move; But no more deep will I endart mine eye. Than your consent to make it fly.” (Act 1, lines 97-99). Basically stating that she would start looking for love but no other factor other than looking is mentioned in her search for love.

This may seem like a stretch, but Octavia’s novel Bloodchild  also has a theme of finding love through the methods in which ones cultural norms dictate. In the novel, Gan is struggling with complicated feelings for T’Gatoi who is of an alien species that is coexists and is codependent on the human race. Gan is clearly chosen to carry T’Gatoi’s babies from his birth and at first this can be seen as a forceful situation. But it becomes clear that it is Gan’s decision whether he wants to do this and whether he truly loves T’Gatoi. This novel is so often mistaken for Slavery, because we have not (obviously) grown up in a colony with another alien species we cannot understand the cultural norms present. But we can understand that in our society it is common for children (of same or opposite sex) to grow up together and to fall in love with each other. The idea that Gan loves T’Gatoi then isn’t so unusual then when imagined within the confines of our own cultural values. Similar to how Juliet falls in love upon first sight because her Mother taught her love is through sight, so to does Gan fall in love with T’Gatoi because that is what his culture taught him.