Consent.

Throughout the course, there has always been the underlying conversation of consent. We have talked endlessly about how “Bloodchild” by Octavia Butler and Big Machine by Victor Lavalle are connected by the lack of consent given by the protagonist in the texts. As I was flipping through Call and Response thinking of how I could address the issue of consent without being redundant, I came across Harriet A. Jacobs’ slave narrative and began to skim through the text again, as I did this I began to realize that this narrative also deals with the issue of lack of consent.
In Big Machine the lack of consent arises in a way that I think none of us saw coming. Ricky has been impregnated, “the tiny little wound looked like a needle mark, honestly I certainly recognized those. Had I been stabbed, or injected?” (145). In this moment Ricky does not know that he has indeed been impregnated with the last angel on Earth. All he knows is that he has been “impaled” in some way by a creature in the sewers. Although the issue of consent is prevalent in both texts, they are represented in very different ways.
For Harriet Jacobs, the lack of consent appears in the “normal” way one would (unfortunately) expect it to. While reading the editorial introduction to her narrative the editor discloses that, “at fifteen, Harriet quickly discovered the disadvantages of being an attractive black female and a slave. Dr. James Norcom…made repeated sexual advances to Jacobs” (433). This is where the difference comes into play. “He built a house for Jacobs in 1835, a short distance from his own home, and expected her to reside there, take in sewing, and provide sexual favors for him” (433). It is saddening to look back on a text such as this and see that a problem that is (unfortunately) still prevalent today, began all those years ago. It is also enlightening though to see that consent can play a part in areas other than sexually.

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