When reminiscing on the novel Clay’s Ark by Octavia Butler, I realized that the “other” animal is bought to the forefront. Post humanism oppressed co-evoution of humans with nonhumans and other forms of life. The novel shows the horrors of living and accepting a human-animal hybrid and Octavia Butler creates these characters that displays this human-animal quality. Eli, Meda, and many other characters were enhanced due to this virus and become these hybrid subject. In reality, we fear power and in this novel “the hybrids” hold power and make the humans feel like the “others” on their own land. When Media, Rane, Keira, and Eli become infected, they obtain enhanced senses, speed, strength, and telepathic characteristics. Because of this, they question what they are and wonder if they are animals in human form. Meda questions this and says “We’re changed, but we have ethics. We aren’t animals.” (pg. 39). Although they technically still have human-like appearances, they are still rejected and deemed as unnatural and evil. Jacob was born out of infected humans, but is still rejected and observed as another hybrid. The bodies of humans and hybrid children like Jacob and Joseph can also be assumed as postman bodies. Their new posthuman bodes need to interact with the new environment. For a posthuman, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they carry a new body, but that they have to accept being challenged. Both the humans and hybrids must understand each other. The non human body of Jacob stands as a barrier for the humans to accept him as one of “them.” Humanity often denies and fears deformity. Deformity is often portrayed in Clay’s Ark. Jacob had a human face but an animal body, making it almost impossible to be accepted by humans. On the other hand, Butler accepts human body, but without racial and cultural uniqueness. In reality hybrids will face a lot of problems in a human world. In a postman world, dominance of a single species is denied by Butler and multi species interaction and co evolution is exhibited. Butler challenges the theory of accepting the “other” regardless of how they look and what they do. Through her novel, she points out the flaw that many will have with accepting others based on appearance. The novel is a science fiction but relates to the class because it demonstrates how one will treat others differently based on appearance. For example the Tuskegee experiments demonstrated how white medics thought it was ok to infect african americans and neglect them treatment because they saw these people as “different” and not as one of their own. By creating this hybrid, Butler introduces ideas like human dependency, sharing, and a changed world with altered species part human.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.