Suspended Animation: An Alternative to Prison

Within my reading, I could not help but think why suspended animation was a problem solver for the Oankali. Repeatedly, the Oankali reference suspended animation as a means to solve the issue of humans who have behave poorly under their jurisdiction. However, humans are put under suspended animation before they have an opportunity to behave badly. They are put in when they arrive to the ship, for over a hundred years Lilith has no clue what is going on. So is suspended animation really an alternative to prison?

I question the “problem” of Curt. His violent activity is met by being drugged and placed in suspended animation. As the text progresses, Curt increasingly becomes aggressive toward Lilith. As in final scene before being placed in suspended animation, he attacks Lilith and murders Joseph. As his punishment he is placed in suspended animation. However, his uncontrollable nature is not something new of humans who are unaware of their surroundings. People tend to act out when they feel they have lost control. The Oankali have taken all control from the humans by placing them in a room, and manipulating their genetics. The Oankali are not fully at fault for Curt’s actions (and I’m not defending his actions by any means) but the Oankali are at fault for not trying to understand human emotion. Curt’s actions stem from his loss of dominance over others. His suspended animation cannot solve something as big as murdering another person or even Oankali because of jealousy, rage, or loss of control. Does sleep for twenty to hundred years really solve the issue because he will forget that he even did murdered anyone? This makes me question what message Butler may be conveying on the concept of human characteristics as being disposable. Although, she doesn’t construct good and bad characters, but Curt is definitely a bad character. His uncontrollable urge to fulfill his anger is a characteristic of his but is it truly disposable enough to be diluted in suspended animation? Suspended animation seems like a great alternative to crimes because of the less brutality and savage like jail setting we sent our law breakers to. However, do either really solve the issue of rehabilitation?

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