Lilith’s Brood as a Indirect Confrontation with Society

As I read Lilith’s Brood, I couldn’t help to think of the texts confrontation with numerous stereotypes. The stereotypes range from the extensively conversed about gender to what constitutes someone as a parent in a family. I will go further in discussing the confronted stereotypes, but before then I wish to comment the stereotypes are not resolved or utopian but viewed in a different perspective than what human nature inclines us to.

Gender: Butler creates an ungendered being, which is new within the realm of gender. We tend to believe people to be either male, female or intersex, but never neither. Also, the Oankali youth growing up to become what they wish to be. Gender as a choice, instead of a prison sentence to some seems like a route that many today would wish to take, in order to become exactly the gender one feels in their heart. Butler’s confrontation of gender displays a new way to think of gender as something that does not matter, but the person within is the one who should be judged.

Violence: she confronts violence in a way, in which it is rebellious but very human like. She encompasses this by alluding to the war and the humans who decide not to mate. However, she confronts gender while confronting violence because of women repeatedly being raped by the men in the villages.

War: Although, Butler only alludes to the human war, the Oankali confess how violent the war and it was so bad the Oankali have erased it from human memory. She introduces the idea the violent nature of humans is because of their hierarchal behavior.

Privilege: the inability for humans to move where they wish to, clothing, meat, marriage, thinking without the influence of the Oankali, having a home, and children are some of the privileges Butler investigates. She takes everything away from the humans, not in the sense of slavery, but being without the privilege of the perks of industrialization. Everyone is reverted to pre-industrialized way of living.

Rebuilding: Butler rewinds time in the future to pre-industrialization and sparks thought in her readers, in which there was a possibility to start over what would be the things we carry into our new world? Although, within the text Butler seems to focus on the privilege of reproduction, she investigates all the issues listed through the lens of various ways to view human nature.

Children/Family: the traditional family is dramatically changed when the Oankali and the human mate.  There is a no cheating because humans are repulsed by everyone but their Oankali mate, which also changes the dynamic of what constitutes as sex. Butler evaluates sex without penetration but as a euphoric consensual feeling. Parenting is changed because the constructs are biologically inclined to follow the guidance of their Oankali parents. They have an inability to learn from their mistakes.

Disease: she reinvents disease where it is beneficial. Also, by every human having access to treatment from the Oankali. The Oankali rid humans of disease and are not wasteful with the disease, but use it to help themselves. Also, she examines genetic engineering as a means to create healthy children and the best children they are able to produce.

Waste: she rethinks what home should be like. In the Oankali world everything is viewed as living and there is no waste. The Oankali treat their ship with immense care, unlike humans treatment to Earth. There are thousands of articles on global warming, new inventions and technology for renewable energy and food waste. These articles examine exactly what the Oankali refuse to do their ship because they care for it. They are not viewing ownership of the necessities to live on their ship for personal advancement.

Minority: the humans view themselves as superior because they are human and the Oankali are drastically different from themselves. Although, the humans are outnumbered by the Oankali, they feel they are superior. The minority status is developed in multiple ways such as their distrust for the Oankali, being told where they can and cannot live and being under the jurisdiction of the Oankali

The listed themes and stereotypes within the text confront many angles of privilege. The confrontation of Lilith’s Brood with society examines what humans really strive for when they have nothing.

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