Back at Home with Butler

The second I arrived back at home and my mom begins to ask me about my courses. I knew it would be relatively easy to explain all of them, all of them except my Octavia Butler course. I wasn’t quite sure where to start with this one. Do I just explain the books that the class has read? Do I try and guide her through all the themes we have discovered in those books? I finally decided on showing her our final exam project and to take it from there.

Rather than asking questions about Butler’s fiction, she asked me: “how did a class of about 30 students complete a final project like this?” and I said: “With a lot of time and patience.” Now that I look back at the group work that’s been done, it really is impressive, isn’t it? I remember seeing the assignment on the syllabus for the first time and I wasn’t sure if I read it correctly. I want to say that I felt relieved that the assignment was as short as it was (one page), but I had no clue how the class was going to satisfy the requirement. Because our final product had the themes of Consent, Gender and the Visual, I let my mom explore those to see if she had any further questions about the course.

Not to make this post a short one, but my mom read our final exam and she said: “Very good Gabby.” That answer surprised me. She usually loves being immersed in literature. But I suppose Butler was too much for her to handle in one sitting late at night. My mom is certainly not a science fiction fan; I think the mention of Ooloi and the usage of correct gender roles threw her off. For those topics, she is a little less forgiving of having me describe the text to her. I suppose I will try again later and explain to her how wonderful Butler’s fiction is. Butler for sure captured the class in all her traps, but I guess one must want to do the reading to be immersed in the world she has created. Goal for the break: To get my mom to listen to me talk about Butler’s works!

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