What brings everyone together?

From the time that I spent in the discussions, I was getting help to develop and to deepen my way of thinking. I do and still, get a little bit twisted on the thinking part due to the reason that my analysis needs more work. Another reason is that I heavily depend on the prompts that are given. The prompts give me a sense of direction on what to write about ever since I could remember. However, I am able to learn from the group discussions, whether on zoom or in our chat room. As I move on to my “independent life” from this course, I do feel like I might be a bit lost in terms of the constraints. I need some sort of order in my life to not be overwhelmed. Yet, I could easily make myself something to keep organized.

I learned that there are many ways to bring and to bind people together. Some ways that bring people together is by senses as shown in Octavia Butler’s books. As well as for appearances. There are three times in Adulthood rites where this is shown. The first one is, “ “They will see him as beautiful and like themselves,” Nikanj said. “By the time he’s old enough for his body to reveal what he actually is, he’ll be an adult and able to hold his own.” ” Akin (Eka or Jodah) is born as an Oankali-human construct.  Lilith was concerned about her son being born as a male construct. As well as having no judgment against her child as he was growing up.  Nikanj reassured Lilith that he would be able to hold his own when he becomes an adult. A Connection to myself is that My body is constantly changing every day. I have been learning how to deal with my physical appearances ever since I was a child from my family specifically from my parents. My parents had helped me as a female to have my personal life taken care of. As well as helping me with my social life. A Connection to the world is that everyone is trying to make sure that their appearance is well. As well as the parents of the children, who do not want the kids to have a bad childhood. They want their kids to be able to live up as independent adults who would use the skills that they gained throughout childhood and adolescence to live on their own throughout adulthood.

The second one is, “He could feel pleasure the moment she sank filaments of her sensory tentacles into him. She was the first person to be able to reach him this way with more than simple emotions. She was the first to give him multisensory images and signaling pressures and to help him understand that she was speaking to him without words.” This was how Nikanj was able to connect with Akin. Nikanj, the other Oankali, and the other groups that are on the ship would connect by touching. Which would be seen by them in a group interlocking their arms to send messages. Which for them is faster than talking. Even though they have to physically talk to humans. A Connection to the world is that people love to connect with others. In terms of connecting, one of the main connections that start is with the mother and child.  You might hear how the baby would react whenever the mother would touch their own pregnant belly. They would react by mostly kicking when the baby gains that ability while still being developed in the womb.

The third time is,“ “When you’re older, you’ll be expected to turn your face and body toward people when you talk to them. Even now, you should look at Humans with your eyes. If you don’t, they yell at you or repeat things because they’re not sure they have your attention. Or they start to ignore you because they think you’re ignoring them.” ”A Connection to the book is that Akin’s sister was trying to keep him safe from humans before he met them. This was when he was a baby. For him, as an Oankali he could ‘see’ through his body and not where his eyes would generally be if he were a full-born human. A Connection to myself is that as someone who is shy. I would avoid direct eye contact with most people. Such as my parents, authorities, and people who are in a similar authority position. I remember my middle school teacher, Ms.Hoyt, noticing my shyness back then. She would constantly call on me in English class to get me to look at her and tell her the answer. Also, it was a way for me to participate in her class.

Harm and care walk a thin line for many beings alike. Harm is the absence of care and care is the absence of harm. Harm and care are shown in Octavia Butler’s book, as Akin is trying to go through his metamorphosis. The first evidence is, “My head tentacles swept toward it…let me examine its flesh so that I could begin to understand the difference between its flesh and my own…I wondered what might happen if these genes activated in Nikanj. It was mature. Were there other changes it might undergo? Stop, Niknaj said quietly. It signaled silently and spoke aloud. Its silent signal felt urgent. What was I doing?…. These genes were trying to activate others of their kind in other cells, trying to cause Nikanj’s body to begin the secretion of inappropriate hormones that would cause inappropriate growth.” A connection to the book is that Akin was given permission by his mother to examine her. This was when he was going through his first metamorphosis and he had to relearn his surroundings once more. 

The second evidence is, “I relax and let it work, and it said instantly, No!… Until you know yourself a great deal better, you can’t afford to relax that way while you’re in contact with another person. Not even with me. You’re too competent, too well able to make tiny, potentially deadly changes in genes, in cells, in organs.” A connection to the book is that Nikanj did not want her child to go to sleep while she was helping him because they both don’t know how his body would act. As well as to keep him conscious enough to notice if he makes a potentially deadly mistake to others or to himself. 

The third evidence is, “I’m here because a Human was able to share such ability with me… It meant Lilith, my birth mother…One of Nikanj’s sensory arms had been all but severed from its body, but Lilith allowed it to link into her body and activate certain of her highly specialized genes. It used what it learned from these to encourage its own cells to grow and reattach the complex structures of the arm. It could not have done this without the triggering effect of Lilith’s genetic help. ” A connection to the book is that Lilith was able to use her body to save an Oankali from losing their arm. The Oankali reach-in Lilith to activate some of those genes that we know as cancerous, so they could rebuild their body. Which in hindsight made Lilith, the enemies to humans and kind of like an outcast to the Ooloi or Oankali, not being able to fit within a group.  A Connection to the world is that humans as a whole want the best for someone else. Humans want to take care of others, especially those who are in their family. Such as parents, siblings, cousins, and nephews. 

Changes could be unexpected and with it, they could have a drastic impact on the person and/or family. The evidence is, “The people would permit me Earth exile, then. With no real discussion, we prepared to go. My human parents made packs for themselves, wrapping Lo cloth hammocks around prewar books, tools, extra clothing, and food from Lilith’s garden…I went to my Human mother and watched her assemble her pack. I did not touch her–had not touched any human since my metamorphosis ended. As a reminder of my unstable condition, I had developed a rough, crusty growth on my right hand. I had deliberately reabsorbed it twice…” After Akin Metamorphosis,  he was seen as a threat to the City of Lo and those around him. He has not hurt anyone else yet but he does not want to go back onto the ship with the other Ooloi to be monitored and to be away from his family. So his parents on both sides unanimously agreed to venture on Earth away from the city to minimize the risk of him hurting someone due to his new ability. This was a major change that they all have to deal with to keep the family together. A Connection to myself is that I was never prepared to change. Most of the time that I had changed, it would be last minute and a drastic change of environments. Of course, I have my family to help me with the changes.  My first memory of change was when my mother made my whole family, during a block party, move to this new apartment without telling us beforehand. Which on my side of this journey as a young kid I have left the majority of my games that I had back then and they probably all sold by now. I have left behind a gaming system that we’ll never be able to find ever again. A Connection to the world is that People experience changes whether they are prepared for it or not. It all depends on who you have with you to help you through the changes.

The (I’m)possible

Before going into the reading, we must know what an epigraph is. According to the Lexicon, epigraphs are short quotations or sayings at the beginning of a book or chapter that suggests its theme. Many books have used them and some of us would not think twice about it. The epigraphs are the author’s way of conveying something such as a theme or tone for the readers. The epigraphs get me to think about the connection between the books to society. An epigraph that could represent this is from Octavia Butler’s book Dawn, “Learn and Run!”. The connection that could be seen is that in society, some jobs would ask the interviewees for a couple of experiences before being employed. However, the interviewee might not have the experiences needed to meet the requirements. So what they would do is to learn while they work and to run with the job position. To me, Butler has wanted people to connect in a way so that they could try to understand their surroundings and perceive the world through a different lens of life.

The previous epigraph reminds me of a section from the same book, Dawn. It states that “The Oankali had removed her so completely from her own people–only to tell her they planned to use her as a Judas goat” (Butler) In the story, they have seen how humans reacted when they are confronted by the OanKalis’. They tried to kill them and to escape the room that feels like a cage to them. This also could be connected to the situation that we are living in this modern time. I am talking about the coronavirus pandemic. Being in a time where citizens would look up to the person that they believed to be getting the situation under control, (for example, the president of the US) only to have the person that they trust to say or show something that could lead them to their doom. For example, being told from higher-ups that science is fake or that masks do not prevent the virus from spreading. Then to have seen all over the news or hear from neighbors that people are suffering and dying from this new virus that some citizens just do not show any unity or support to delay the spread to anyone from a young child to an elder.

Another way that the epigraphs get me to think is by the connections to me. Another epigraph is from Butler’s other book Furor Scribendi; it states,  “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.” This means to me that inspiration is useless to have. To have inspiration is a shot in the dark, and sometimes it probably is not going to be used completely throughout. This relates to me, as someone who gets side-tracked, the inspiration(s) that I may already have received in my lifetime weren’t always seen to the finish of whatever I have been inspired to do. Which led to me forgetting what I was doing then doing something else. For talents, they can let you go as far as you can but only if it correlates to the talent(s). While with continued learning, it could bring you much further and could bring you much more success and more paths to walk along on. Also, it helps develop a habit for the person. For example, when I was in high school my English teacher taught my class how to further our explanation by using these simple sentence starters, This means…This shows…This proves. This became wanted by us in all our essays to come. This led to it becoming part of my habit whenever I write an essay for anybody. Due to that, I have allowed others to understand my way of thinking whether it short or thought out.

I am not the one who likes to ask questions, nevertheless critical questions. In terms of goals, I would say that a goal I have is to find more connections that could make books more related, even though Butler is already doing a good job making us think about the smallest reaction and subconscious thought that anyone of us could have when reading the stories.