The question of whether or not Shori is a protagonist seems to be evidence of Butler’s refusal to define her characters as “good” or “bad.” It is indeed easy to label Shori as the protagonist…but only if not questioning her manipulative behavior. Whether or not she has control over this behavior is another whole discussion.
Also, in response to the focus on age or race differences in Fledgling, I feel the focus on race is centered more around the differences betweern Shori and other Ina and less around her interracial relationship with Wright. Perhaps Butler purposely muted this “issue” of an interracial relationship to suggest that it does not have to be “an issue” or “a problem,” and simply to let it exist in the text.
It is baffling to me, however, why Pickens did not mention the age difference as the reason for Wright trying to hide his relationship with Shori. For me, this seemed like the obvious and logical reason. It is hard to say how Butler truly felt about the age difference (or rather, how she wanted us to feel); it is one of those many questions she leaves unanswered for us. As for whether Wright was really just concerned about Shori’s apparent age or whether he actually did not want others to know he was in an interracial relationship? Well, we can only speculate.