Classification of Fledgling

While I read some of the questions asked in Conversations with Octavia Butler. One question that piqued my interest was on defining Fledging as a genre. The Interviewer asked this to Butler:” I’ve seen Fledgling classified in bookstores under “Horror”, but it could just as easily under “Erotica.” (Francis, 203) I thought about how Butler complicates this novel with many tropes such as race, sexuality, and science. One cannot simple put a definitive genre on to it. Butler is constantly making the sure the readers are up on their toes by setting instances where the characters could be defined in a certain aspect. In the trope of morality Wright is often found conflicted with his sexual relationship with Shori. Shori appears to be child, but in her race she is 53 years old. One often finds themselves morals surrounding the relationship in the age complication. Not only Shori’s relationship with Wright highly questioned, but also because of Butler’s descriptive sexual writing it is turned in an erotic form. Furthermore, the character of Wright often finds himself contemplating his sexual attraction, which is clearly stated when he says, “”I thought she was maybe ten or eleven when I met her. Later, I knew she had to be older, even though she didn’t look it. Maybe eighteen or nineteen.” (Butler, 64) Later Wright finds out that she is part of a race called Ina who need more companions to live. This trope of the symbionts plays into Butler’s Science Fiction world, but also allows for more sexual promiscuity. To further complicate Wright becomes jealous of symbionts because of his affectionate for Shori. The relationship seems romanticized, which puts to question that reader’s own morality, and insight. Butler in Fledgling created a world where social norms, and categorization live in constant in flux.

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