As I was reading Dawn, I could not help but notice the potential significance (if, that is, there is any) of the main character’s name: Lilith. There are many myths concerning her throughout cultures and religions but as someone who has studied particular parts of the Bible, my first thought was the Lilith that is briefly mentioned within the Judeo-Christian religious tradition. When looking up the precise meaning of her name on Google, I came to find that Lilith is derived from lilitu, meaning “of the night”, which is ironic considering that the title of this first book in this series is Dawn.
Another link I noted was the word “genesis” within the title of the series Xenogenesis, which prompted me to consider that, while she (mythological Lilith) was not mentioned in the actual Judeo-Christian book of Genesis, she is still said to have been Adam’s first wife, one that insisted that they live in the Garden of Eden together as equals and who refused to be subservient to him. According to the myth, Lilith, unable to submit to the dominance of man, is consequently expelled from Eden, being replaced by Eve instead. However, some variations of this myth claim that Adam and Lilith did have offspring (or shall I say “brood”) together, but that the offspring they produced were considered to embody evil— Lilith especially, as, she as seen as and often referred to as a “demon”.
While I tried looking up any conversations Octavia Butler might have had in relation to what the significance was in naming the main character of Dawn that name specifically, I was not able to find anything on it so I cannot know what her intent, or lack thereof, of choosing that name was. But, I still see connections (contrived or no) between the second chance to begin life anew on planet Earth and Lilith’s role in re-populating it.
Some more on Lilith here if you are interested.