Lilith’s Brood, Bible Style

I know by this time in the semester, I probably should have moved onto another book in Butler’s cannon, but after reading Mary Papke’s article, “Necessary interventions in the Face of Very Curious Compulsions: Octavia Butler’s Naturlism Science Fiction” for our annotated bibliography, I feel as though I had to revisit Lilith on the living space ship one last time. The article touched on Lilith’s name, and it’s undeniable relationship to the Lilith as Adam’s first wife. Although she is not mentioned in the Torah, apparently she is referenced to help explain the two dichotomous creation stories in Genesis. I related this second version of the creation story to the human’s second chance to survive, and possibly thrive, with the Oankali. It is also believed that Lilith’s biblical character could have descended from a Sumerian myth that focuses on female vampires. Lilith’s beginning is routed in sentiments that perfectly relate to another one of Butler’s novels, Fledgling. Just from searching Lilith’s name, I have found that many of Butler’s choices are linked to religion. Lauren starts her own religion, and as I reflected upon in an early blog post, many of the names choosen for Fledgling summon ideals of morals, and possibly a religious tone, such as Wright and Joseph (what we assume to be the English translation of Shori’s father’s name).

While researching the origin of Lilith’s name, I found many connections to the novel and to varying explanations of the genesis story that connect to Lilith. The discrepancies found in the two Genesis stories had an explanation I had never heard of. There is a story about the creation of an “androgyne”, a creature that was both male and female. This creature immediately reminds me of the Oankali, and their gender duality. This emphasis on religion makes me view Lilith’s Brood in a slightly different way. Although I had always imagined because of the imaginative settings and characters, these choices had been coming straight from Butler’s brain. After doing just a little bit of research, I find myself questioning some of her originality; maybe she has been borrowing from myth and fact more than I had previously thought, and weaves these aspects into creations from her mind. This is not a bad thing, obviously, but just not something I had previously thought about. I wonder if I went back though the texts we read for this class, and if I did a little research, I could find well documented myths, legends and maybe facts that would have colored my readings, if I had thought earlier to search for them.




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