Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed and Mind of My Mind examined through the lens of the feminist perspective gives an equal representation of Doro and Mary. Arguably, Doro and Mary are masters to those around them. Doro breeds only the strongest. Mary brings in latents to help them transition.
In class, we spoke of Doro’s death as a sympathetic event within the text.
Continue reading The Feminist Perspective of Wild Seed and Mind of My Mind
Wow, this novel had me on the edge of my seat as it came to a close. Will Doro win or will Mary dethrone him? Back and forth they fought in the one body and at last, Mary triumphs and becomes the Queen. But is Doro really dead? Initially, at the moment of conclusion, I believed he was, but something tells me, he is still around, still alive, somewhere lurking in the shadows, trying to figure out how he will come back and seek revenge on Mary. But perhaps he may even return unprepared because Clay is about to be introduced more in-depth. And what about the child of Mary and Karl – August? Will he be the one branded as the Patternmaster? Continue reading Victories in the Web
The ending of Mind of My Mind was epic. Doro is finally killed in a battle with Mary. We assume Doro has the upper hand, but soon we realized that his imminent downfall has come. Not only have Doro’s fears of Mary been realized, but also has the realization of a new beginning unfolds. Yet, the remains of Doro’s oppression and subjection of his people have left a lot remaining turmoil that needs to be stabilized.
The concept of a new beginning in Mind of My Mind reminds me of an article I read for one of my education classes. In the article the author Kirkland discusses what is known as New English Education. New English Education pushes incorporation of more cultural contemporary literary works. One of the said works is hip-hop because of relevancy to youth and more modern appeal. In the context of the battle between Doro can be viewed as the standard literary canon. Doro in reminds me of the classical literary canon because like the classical canon he is fully established in his society, and has created a society were only his notion is plausible.
Furthermore, anyone who is outside the canon or in this case Doro’s control is a treat. Mary is similar to New English Education because it is starting to gain momentum and power. Doro and the classical canonical critics have a fear of this new movement due the fact creates a defocus from the old canonical regime. We see two conflicts one being that of Doro and Mary, and the other is a canonical clash between what Kirkland deems “Official Space” and “Unofficial Space.” In the ending of Mind of My Mind will we are left with numerous expectations from Mary. Conversely, many expectations lay within the idea of New English Education.
Here’s the article: Kirkland (2008) New English Education
This is mostly just a mixture of wishful thinking and denial, but I want to believe that Doro is still kicking. I felt a bond with Doro. Whether it was because he’s been with us from the beginning, or whether I sympathized with his cause, I came out of Mind of my Mind refusing to believe that his death was true. After today’s group discussions I learned that at least some of us share that same sentiment. Continue reading Doro ain’t Dead
Since evening I stumbled upon a clip of my favorite childhood cartoon – Dragon Ball Z (DBZ). About forty seconds into the clip, the purple villain whose name is Bills told Vegeta (pun on vegetable) that he would die with honor in his death. Vegeta’s wife then shows up and directs her anger at Bills by slapping him for interrupting her party. He slaps her back to which Vegeta gets riled up and bawls out “that’s my Bulma.” At first, I thought he said “that’s my woman.” Continue reading Mine To Protect?
After reading Sikivu Hutchinson’s post, “Policing Our Girls, Taming ‘Topsy,’” on “The Feminist Wire,” I took a few moments to look through the various hyperlinks in the text. One hyperlink eventually lead me to a Harvard study about race and perceived innocence; conducted in February 2015, the study (which surveyed solely white women) found that at the young age of 10 years, black boys begin to be perceived as less innocent than children of any other race—regardless of age. Not only is 10 years the threshold age for black boys to be perceived as less innocent, but they are also “more likely to be mistaken as older,” and more likely to “be perceived as guilty and face police violence if accused of a crime.” Possibly worse, the study also found that when shown an image of a boy with a description of a crime he committed, subjects of the study overestimated the age of black boys by an average of 4.5 years, and found black children to be more deserving of blame for their crimes than boys of other races. Continue reading Theorizing Innocence in Wild Seed
Within Butler’s Wild Seed, Doro takes his people into slavery and portrays himself as a god-like figure to them. Similarly to a slave master, Doro is willing to kill anyone who defies his commands and punish them in whatever means “necessary”. On the Feminist Wire, I came across Khanmalek’s article “Slavery: the Haunting Legacy of Sterilization Abuse in California State Prisons” which discussed how 150 female California state prisoners were sterilized without their consent between the years of 2006 and 2010. It’s completely baffling to come across this type of incident that occurred not too long ago. And, what was the CDCR’s excuse? Khanmalek reveals within her article that their justification was that it would cut down welfare costs. Of course, none of these woman gave their consent whatsoever to have this procedure done. Furthermore, this article also brings up 19th century surgeon J. Marion Sims who was referred to as the “Father of Gynecology” and his involvement in carrying out experimental surgeries on enslaved African American woman without their consent.
These incidents are extremely similar to how Doro rules over his people without their consent by coercing them into following his every command. He blatantly forces his people to follow his breeding program in order to produce new offspring with special abilities. Both these incidents in California and the 19th century are very similar to Doro having his own motives for taking advantage of people who were within his control. How were they able to take advantage? Because, these victims did not have the ability to NOT give their consent. In Wild Seed, Despite Anyanwu’s immense refusal to mate with Doro’s son Issac, Doro did not care whatsoever and coerced her into performing this action that she considered to be a complete abomination. Doro’s sole desire is to breed a new type of special individuals at whatever cost. Consent or no consent.
I want to return to a part of last week’s discussions where the groups were asked to “judge” the characters of Wild Seed, and then offer “push-backs” on those judgments. From what I took of it, the majority of time was spent on the character Doro, who for many reasons occupies the position most closely associated with the “antagonist” in the novel, (although that categorization too is up for debate). Nevertheless, one thing that guided this exercise was the remark given by Butler herself in an interview (paraphrased in class by Dr. McCoy) in which she insists that she never writes Manichean good guys vs. bad guys narratives only to be seen in black and white. Rather, Butler argues that all characters represented in her works should be able to defend their respective positionality. In the case of Doro, who was initially negatively judged (for his vanity, deviance, and murderous behavior among other things), the responses and push-backs to such negative characterizations mostly pertained to his inability to avoid killing. It was argued that Doro’s existence is predicated on a primal act of violence, namely murder, and with what began as a traumatic event of parricide has since been for Doro the countless repetition of inescapable killings that span millennia.
Continue reading Doro, Fungible Bodies, and Performance in Wild Seed
Throughout Fledgling, one of the prominent points (although the purpose of which remains unclear) is that Shori is short, or small. In the first chapter it is revealed that she possesses the body of what looks like a ten or eleven year old. This small body is contrasting to her vivacious and bold character. Her strength exceeds that of most adults; her bravery appears to be everlasting. And it brings an interesting (if not baffling) twist into the mix when it is revealed that Shori is a fifty-three year old woman. Continue reading Height in Fledgling
Rajanie Kumar, a guest contributor at the Feminist Wire, describes how “whiteness” truly affects the present day black community. Whiteness is defined as a “terror in the psyches of black individuals and the black community.” Kumar’s historical example of black slaves not having the honor to look their white master in the eye resembles whiteness because of the black perception of whites as an invisible being but all knowing.
In Octavia Butlers Wild Seed, Doro encapsulates whiteness. Doro, a spirit who takes host of the body he most recently kills, is what Kumar is noting in her article, White Terror: Spirituality, Ancestral Memory and the Politics of Remembering. Doro as a spirit is similar to Kumar’s interpretation of whiteness as an invisible being, but also all knowing. Doro used his senses to find Anyanwu in Wheatley after she ran away from him for centuries (184). Continue reading The Whiteness of Doro