The Haunting of Misgendering

It’s been over a week since we finished our discussions on Lillith’s Brood, however, our conversations related to gender are still prevalent in my mind. Similarly to Kevin, I found myself thinking of the role of the ooloi and how even now, we still struggle with giving it the wrong pronoun. After a great class discussion last Monday, I began to realize that I have learned more about the ooloi and its gender, through it’s role as a parent. Continue reading “The Haunting of Misgendering”

Don’t Get Too Comfortable

In class on Friday (November 3rd), we were asked to think of what we wanted at the end of Dawn. As the group I was in began to think about this question of what we wanted, I started to think about what I didn’t want to happen. Throughout the semester, I have noticed that Octavia Butler is constantly pushing us as well as reminding us to stay aware of our surroundings. In Lillith’s Brood (specifically Dawn and Adulthood Rites) I find her constantly making us comfortable with our characters and their situations, only to change them and make us readjust. As discussed in class on Friday, it’s both interesting and incredibly frustrating.

Continue reading “Don’t Get Too Comfortable”

Punta Nublada

In Fledgling, the later half of the story is set in a place named Punta Nublada in California (133). In my initial reading, this caught my eye. Being a native Spanish speaker, I quickly made the translation that Punta Nublada in English is “Cloudy Point”. I was immediately intrigued when I noticed this and I was hoping that Butler would mention the translation at some point, which she didn’t do. I thought of this as Butler making a clever joke that was out in the open and if you spoke Spanish, you would get the joke. It almost seemed like an indirect communication between her and her readers to see if they were paying attention and I interpreted it as a vampire joke. Traditionally in vampire stories and in Fledgling, vampires (except Shori) are powerless against the sun so I found it funny that the place in which this Ina family resides is named “Cloudy Point” because they cannot be in a sunny location.

At first I considered this a funny anecdote, but after discussing it with Dr. McCoy, I realized this was another way for Butler to allude to the idea of boundaries and consent. In this colony of Ina and symbionts, there is sort of this hazy idea of what is right and it’s something that Shori consults with a lot throughout the novel. As she is trying to recover from memory loss, there are a few things that are continuously unclear to her such as, who is trying to kill her and her family? How does she protect her symbionts? How does she start a new life on her own while being responsible for her symbionts? Who killed Theodora? What happens next? I find it interesting that the place where she tries to make clear of these things are in a part of the world labeled as a ‘Cloudy Point’ because it seems like a clear (haha) connection between Shori’s experiences and her current setting. As readers, we also have to contend with unclear boundaries along with Shori because as our narrator, she is responsible for clueing us into the world that Butler has built. Since we currently (to our knowledge) do not live in a world with Ina, we too have to wonder where the boundaries lie with Ina and their symbionts as well as between the Ina families. There are many places where things are unclear for both us and Shori and the name of our setting could be Butler’s way of reminding us of that. Continue reading “Punta Nublada”

Intent vs Affect

In class on Friday, we had a discussion on consent and Brianne mentioned a good point about not understanding ones intent. Currently I am doing research with the Psychology department where we have to determine behaviors between siblings and their peers. In lab, we watch videos of children interacting and we have to determine the quality of their social interaction. For example if two kids are playing together and one of them begins to mock the other one, we have to determine whether this is a positive or negative interaction. Are they doing this to make a joke, or to intentionally hurt the other kid? This has been the cause of some serious debates within my research group because at times we really can’t tell whether or not the kid in the video was acting maliciously or not but our way of settling all debates is to value the kids intent over the effect of their behavior.

Our discussion in class about intent brought me to think of my research group and I started to wonder, do we ever truly know someones intent? We can very well assume that the child mocked another because they wanted to be mean but Continue reading “Intent vs Affect”