“Care is the antidote to violence”

One of the questions that Butler’s fiction consistently asks is, “Why are people so relentlessly awful to each other?” In “Adulthood Rites” and “Dawn,” to me one of the answers seems to be that people act this way when they fail to recognize others as people. I’m using the term “people” rather than human, because in the Lilith’s Brood trilogy, Butler uses “human” as more of a way to distinguish those from earth from the Oankali. In my definition of it, “people” includes any complex living being with thoughts and desires.  Continue reading ““Care is the antidote to violence””

Colonialism in Clay’s Ark

On Friday, Dr. McCoy pushed us to remember that it isn’t Eli waking up and scratching the original inhabitants of the enclave that set the world up for an epidemic, it’s that people went to Proxi Two and were exposed to the disease in the first place. This seemed to suggest that colonialism, not an individual, is responsible for what ultimately happens to Earth. Once this idea took root in my head, it was hard not to read Clay’s Ark through that lens.

Continue reading “Colonialism in Clay’s Ark”

An author’s intent vs. what a reader perceives

On Friday, Dr. McCoy brought up the difficulties Octavia Butler had with her readers’ reactions to Bloodchild, namely the insistence that it was about slavery, even though Butler herself said that it wasn’t. This is something that all writers struggle with; how can I make the themes of my story, poem, etc. clear to readers? How can I be sure that they will understand the message I’m trying to convey?

Continue reading “An author’s intent vs. what a reader perceives”

Dream Houses

It’s funny to me how something can have slipped entirely out of your memory, and then the barest hint of anything related to it can pull the whole memory to the forefront of your mind.

I’d completely forgotten that I’d ever seen Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House before, and I didn’t realize it when Dr. McCoy said the title of the movie out loud. I actually remembered it when I saw the actor who played Bill Cole in the opening scene. Continue reading “Dream Houses”

Good Writing and Trust

As Dr. McCoy pointed out a couple classes ago, we all started to read The Turner House with expectations. For me, a lot of my expectations for the novel were framed by the fact that we’re reading this in a college course and plenty of news outlets had named it the best book of the year. However, pretty much all of my expectations were thwarted, and, sadly, not in a good way. Continue reading “Good Writing and Trust”

Interview with a Vampire (/My Dad)

Yesterday it occurred to me that my family actually bought a house during the crisis, sometime around May 2008. (We don’t actually live in that house anymore.) I was around twelve when we moved into that house, and I don’t recall ever hearing about financial difficulties within our family or struggles regarding the house; we actually made a number of improvements to the house, painting it, putting new floors in, new counters, etc. I don’t think I even knew there was an economic crisis going on. Thinking about it today, I wondered why my family was so unaffected by the crisis, so I called my dad to ask him about it. Continue reading “Interview with a Vampire (/My Dad)”