The first epigraph that starts to get me thinking about this class critically, is Butler’s quote from Imago. The part that makes me think critically is the idea of planting the seed. That sentence has helped me think about Dr. McCoy giving us as students an idea, and just letting us run with it, whatever way we want to. I think that is evident with Dr. McCoy’s idea of the forums posts. It lets us as readers decide what parts of the novel are captivating to us, and then describe them to others. “…the tiny positioning movements of independent life” I think that this being the end of our epigraph leads to critical thinking in class. For me at least, the significance of independence makes this class feel like I can use my voice however I would like too. This quote makes me think that I can speak freely now about things, and even in the future as long as I have some evidence to back it up.
One section of Litih’s Brood so far that has been difficult for me to understand is part IV in Dawn (The Training Room). This is where I thought more about the Learn and Run epigraph. When reading page 199 in Dawn at first I was able to imagine what the room looked like. But the next paragraph mentions bromeliads, lichens, mosses, etc then became a struggle. It was difficult for me to understand the imagery first, let alone what the plot points were for the chapter. I then thought about learning about everything, like the epigraph says, Learn and Run. So I searched up and learned about most of the foliage mentioned on 199, and it became easy for me to understand the rest of that chapter.
Learn and Run in Dawn also helped me see what parts of the novel really bind people together. I can see throughout the chapter that the influence brought me to be able to understand that people can be brought together through knowledge.I think that being able to learn from multiple perspectives of a novel, helps me think successfully about the class. When I first started reading Dawn I was confused as to the main plot point. But talking with other students, and just being able to discuss in posts online so I can always go back, has helped me be able to run with the idea and develop my own ideas throughout the novel.
I think the next point I want to mention is the Oankali, specifically the Ooloi definite description. The Ooloi were hard for me to understand from the beginning until I finished this section of the novel. It was hard for me to think of the Ooloi as a sex type since on top of that all of the Oankali had tentacles all over their bodies. For me I kept thinking of the Ooloi as a separate entity and not a part of the Oankali until I reread most of the novel and could see where the similarities lay between both descriptions. I was then able to run with the idea of understanding what is going on throughout the novel. I think that without thinking about the Learn and Run epigraph again here, I would not have fully understood the novel.
The last epigraph to talk about is “First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not… Habit is persistence in practice. Forget talent. If you have it, fine. Use it. If you don’t have it, it doesn’t matter. As habit is more dependable than inspiration, continued learning is more dependable than talent” – Octavia Butler, “Furor Scribendi”. This epigraph has helped me develop into Lilith’s character throughout the novel. Since Lilith is one of the only humans mentioned throughout all 250 pages of this novel it became easy for me to only relate to Lilith. I think that the habit aspect of the epigraph correlates to her disgust for the Oankali. I think that Lilith’s link to Nikanj overall made her more dependable on her habits than feeling inspired to make earth habitable.
Although Lilith agrees to interbreed, and kills Joseph, the humans are sent to earth without her. This to me is also an illusion to the “Learn and Run” epigraph again. The humans have to learn how to live without their “leader” to tell them when to grow (learn) and when to run away from situations. I think this was one of the turning points for me to be able to think critically. What if Butler had let Lilith go to Earth with all of the humans? Would things have turned out differently, or was the reasoning for keeping Lilith away from the humans to force them into the Learn and Run epigraph?
The last paragraph of this novel also affected me, which made me excited to continue reading Adulthood Rites. “She would have more information for them this time. And they would have long, healthy lives ahead of them. Perhaps they could find an answer to what the Oankali had done to them. And perhaps the Oankali were not perfect. A few fertile people might slip through and find one another. Perhaps. Learn and Run! If she were lost, others did not have to be. Humanity did not have to be. She let Nikanj lead her into the dark forest and to one of the concealed dry exits”. This entire paragraph brought me back to the critical question of putting Lilith on earth, would things have ended up differently. This paragraph made me think of the humans taking over the thought of the epigraph. The humans now have to learn how to live their lives, and run with living without Lilith.
Overall, I think that these epigraphs have overall helped me improve my thinking about this semester. I have been able to go back to them, and overall try to see what was confusing to me, and how to fix that. I have mostly focused on the learn and run epigraph, since it has been the easiest for me to use. I have been able to think freely for myself, which has made the readings for this class educational and fun at the same time.