Allegories in Bloodchild

Reading the afterword in Bloodchild made me evaluate all the interpretations that lie within the short story. Butler discusses the three levels of her story which are love, coming of age, and being a pregnant man. One statement that Butler made in the Afterward drew may attention a lot. When Butler stated, “It amazes me that some people have seen Bloodchild as a story of slavery. It isn’t” (Butler, 30). While reading Bloodchild a reader could interpret Butler’s tropes as links to slavery. In Bloodchild we read that “there were whole Terran families wiped out in reprisal back during assassinations” (Butler, 12). A reader here could possibly interpret that Butler is discussing the systematic killings of blacks during slavery.

In an interview with Potts Butler states that she was trying to create an alien, but that you’re not suppose to regard it as evil. I questioned whether or not Butler is trying to place another trope by saying the centipede is not evil. Furthermore, I started to think about centipedes and other insects. Often we associate insects with negative terms such as, gross, nasty, creepy, etc. Therefore, how as readers could we not regard the centipede as evil? Then I thought of a similar creature the caterpillar, which turns into a graceful butterfly. The transition from caterpillar to butterfly is where the descriptive terminology changes.I wondered if the centipede like the caterpillar could ever be defined in a positive light? This question made me think of the love story, and as Butler stated if the centipede could ever be adorned by another species? The idea of the caterpillar/butterfly analogy comes from a spoken word poem from Kendrick Lamar’s “Mortal Man.” The spoken word poem starts at 10:30 in the track. There’s also a link to the interview.

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