The Non-Consent in Gender

At class on Monday, we got started on our class-wide project, a difficult task to organize with close to 30 participants. One of the most helpful parts of the endeavor came when Sean volunteered to stand at the white board and write down topics that students would like to write about in our project. Sean did a good job hearing students out, teasing out the specifics of what we meant when we would offer broad categories, not least of all – me. Throughout the Lilith’s Brood Trilogy, the inspire paper, and my previous blog post, I had been thinking a lot about gender, so I offered the wide-ranging category of gender as something I’d like to write about, though I wasn’t initially prepared to unpack what exactly about it I’d like to write about. Continue reading “The Non-Consent in Gender”

The Contagious Human Act of Gendering

I started writing this as my one-page reflection for the “Trans? Fine by me.”  panel, though once I got into it, I discovered it might work better as a blog post in conversation with Linda’s post about the Oankali’s greater freedom of gender ( Continue reading “The Contagious Human Act of Gendering”

Otherworldly Passengers in Stranger Things and Clay’s Ark

The Duffer Brothers, the creative duo behind the hit Netflix Series, Stranger Things, have spoken openly about their major influences, the many movies of the 1980s, namely Stephen Spielberg and John Carpenter titles, as well as Stephen King’s fiction. These influences come through clearly with the synth-heavy soundtrack reminding viewers of Carpenter’s horror, the dialogue and spectacle of Spielberg films such as E.T. and the small-town vibe and characters reminiscent of King’s It. The second season of Stranger Things expands the sci-fi mythos, and apparently draws from even more influences of the genre. In particular, there is a character who is inhabited by an organism from another world, which alters his compulsions, much like in Octavia Butler’s 1984 work Clay’s Ark. Continue reading “Otherworldly Passengers in Stranger Things and Clay’s Ark”

The Ethics of Self-Destruction in Clay’s Ark

This is somewhat tangential, and focuses mainly on Clay’s Ark, but it’s something I had been thinking of as we spoke in class about Clay’s Ark, and something that Brendan’s post makes me question even more. It seems that the class largely came to the decision that Blake’s goal to get to a hospital and find a cure to the infection is misguided, arrogant, and unrealistic. Believing this, we can empathize even more so with Eli, and his goal to contain the infection as much as possible. In the climax of the novel, Blake causes the epidemic, infecting a truck driver, and it seems to the reader that Eli was right. I think that Butler constructs this ending to push the reader to begrudgingly side with Eli over Blake, even as we have seen Eli go to inhumane extremes to contain the virus. Continue reading “The Ethics of Self-Destruction in Clay’s Ark”

Epidemic, Microbes, and Consent in Clay’s Ark

In class on Friday, we primarily spoke about consent; its legal definition, the often obvious, but just-as-often tricky examples of how consent can be overlooked. From the most seemingly-innocuous examples (petting a student’s head in class) to the most intolerably sinister ones, the violation of consent is extremely dangerous. So far in Butler’s works Bloodchild and Clay’s Ark, we have seen almost-exclusively interactions in which consent is overlooked. For whatever purpose it may serve, good or bad, a nonconsensual act carries to the power to irreparably harm its victim, emotionally, psychologically, or, in this case, at the most fundamental part of one’s being. Continue reading “Epidemic, Microbes, and Consent in Clay’s Ark”