Is Consent Situational?

In my very first blog post of the semester I had discussed the importance of repetition and how it plays a vital role throughout one’s life.  If you continuously use something, it doesn’t have a chance to die out and be forgotten about or looked over. Throughout this course, the topic of consent has been a predominant discussion starter in the groups during the class itself.  Each group I have been in has either opened the discussion with consent or the conversation has branched off to talking about consent and what characters may have given, or not given, consent to someone else throughout the story. I believe that this specific use of repetition has been a wonderful fueler for in-depth conversation and an eye-opening process.  

In one specific group discussion during class, we focused on the idea of consent.  Throughout the conversation, my group had begun to realize that consent can very well become situational.  In certain situations one may want to say no but can feel pressured to say yes due to an outside variable. This can be seen throughout the novel Clay’s Ark by Octavia Butler.  One specific scene that demonstrates this ideal was mentioned by Adrianna. In one of her more recent blog posts, “Right State of Mind”, Adrianna addressed that possibly the only reason Keira gave consent was due to the outside variable of love, which can make someone do things that they wouldn’t normally do.  Keira sacrificed her health for the unknown outcome after coming in contact with this disease; it could be life or death for her especially since she has a pre-existing disease, leukemia.  Although Keira’s pre-existing disease was a sole reason of her not being infected by the group thus far, it became her decision whether or not to be infected (by Eli) towards the end. Stated in the novel, “She reached out and took Eli’s hands. She had been waiting to do that for so long. The hands first pulled back from her, but did not pull away…the hands closed on her hands, giving in finally, and in spite of everything, she smiled” (Butler, 552-553).  Situational consent was very clear in this plot due to the outside variable of love and Keira deciding that she rather be infected and be with Eli than stay lonely and “healthier” with her disease of leukemia.

As well as a situation affecting someone’s terms of consent, their mindset also plays a vital role in whether or not something should happen to/with them.  Agreeing with Adrianna’s statement, I believe that Keira’s judgment was indeed clouded due to the constant outside variable. Who knows if she would’ve allowed Eli to infect her with the disease if she didn’t have feelings towards him.  That type of situation is one that an alternate outcome may never be truly known; what would’ve happened from the start if Keira never had leukemia and was as healthy as her twin sister, Rane? Some situations are never thought of by the reader, therefore limiting the possibilities of what directions the story can go.  Throughout the discussion with my groups these questions developed in my head the more we talked about situational consent and how different mindsets can affect certain situations. It goes to show that one outside variable can have a dramatic effect on everything surrounding it.

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