My Reaction to the Character Doro

Doro is dead.

Doro is actually dead.

After four thousand years of living by taking others’ bodies and trying to build an empire, Doro finally met his match. He always thought that he would never die, that nobody could ever be more powerful than him. I believed this myself. As I read that Mary was going to stand up against him, I had no hope that she would survive his attack. And after reading two books about him and his plans, I found that when he actually failed, I was partially relieved.

I am not a Doro fan. I understand that his perspective on human life is different from ours because he lived for so long, but I found his character very abusive. I dislike how Butler’s work, through the character Doro, made human lives seem unimportant. In the article, “Octavia Butler’s Novels of Enslavement,” author Madhu Dubey comments that in Wild Seed, “several passages…[describe] the ways in which Doro’s breeding program reduces people to the level of animals.” It’s difficult for me to sympathize with anyone who treats others poorly. Dubey also describes him taking away Emma from her home in Africa as “kidnapping.” If I minded Doro at any point, it was when I had grown numb to his controlling ways and when I noticed that perhaps he may care about others. Perhaps.

When he finally had a successful descendant after many, many years of trying to breed one, he realized that she was too powerful. I dislike how he turned his back on Mary, and how he remained so power-hungry; not allowing anyone to potentially be successful or go their own path, even if he might care for them. Doro was simply too arrogant and power-loving to let anyone else be successful. I was disappointed in Emma when she was just as angry as Doro was at Mary’s success. I loved her in Wild Seed. I thought that she was brave and kind. She could stand up to Doro, and no one could do that. I admired her for standing by her beliefs as she was with Doro. It almost confuses me as to why she disliked Mary. I would have thought that she would have liked that Mary was helping out others and creating her own family. Emma was doing something like that herself in Wild Seed. Perhaps she truly is a hypocrite as some of my classmates were arguing one morning.

I really liked Mary. I thought that she was doing something very kind and brave. She saved lives by helping out latents that Doro ignored. These latents were the worst parents in existence, and they didn’t know how to live with such an unstable mind. All humans deserve to live the best life they can. Mary gave them an opportunity to finally get through transition and live a healthy life. Doro was finally getting an empire of powerful people through her, but since he wasn’t the one in charge, it wasn’t what he wanted. Doro should have expected that this would happen a long time ago. It seems as though he never really wanted to see his people grow. It seems like he just wanted to be a king with subjects.

Overall, I enjoyed Mind of My Mind more than Wild Seed. I’m wondering if my view of Doro would be different if we were only assigned to read Mind of My Mind. In Wild Seed, we read about a more ruthless Doro and got to see him around his people, or his slaves. Yet I appreciated in the end how he truly cared about Emma’s decision to kill herself. Although Octavia Butler claims that she doesn’t write true antagonists, Doro was the closest person to being the antagonist in these books. I’m not sure whether or not we’ll read scenes with Doro in them again, but he will certainly be mentioned. Despite my negative feelings toward Doro, I do not completely hate him. I don’t clench with hate when I read about him in the books, but he does not have my sympathies.

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