At first when I was reading Dawn, I was appalled at how Butler made a lot of the characters who were Awakened by Lilith try to attack her and each other. Although it was conflict for the story, I would like to have some faith in humanity; that maybe one day people can try to get along and stick together. After thinking about it for a while, I realized that Butler is making a point that human nature never changes. Humans may always mistrust each other and work to protect themselves. It may only change if humans begin to breed with other species, like how humans in Lilith’s Brood mate with the Oankali. As long as we are completely human, much of our intentions will be the same, no matter how much times change. So, even though the humans found themselves in the future, on a ship, and interacting with aliens, they still acted just a brutally as humans today would, or humans several thousand years ago. Continue reading Human Nature Never Changes
Upon learning that Patternmaster is the first book that Octavia Butler wrote in the Patternist series, I immediately began to wonder what it would have been like if we had read the series in the order that Butler wrote the books, or read this book first instead of last. The order in which Butler chose to write this series intrigues me. I wish that she had originally planned to write the series in chronological order – it would certainly make the series appear less disorganized. Nevertheless, I understand why she chose to write the series in that order as a writer myself. After writing one book, sometimes the writer can become addicted to the characters. From there the writer wishes to expand their backgrounds and continue to be a part of their world. In Conversations with Octavia Butler, there is an article titled “Persistence” that was in a magazine. In the article, Butler explains how she “kept taking [her characters] back in time, after wondering, ‘How’d they get like that?’ And that’s how the various novels got plugged into wherever they are on that timeline” (181).
Reading them in chronological order made Patternmaster a bit of a let-down. I was expecting this let-down, so ultimately I didn’t care as much, but if she had started to write this series from Wild Seed, I think that the last book would have been much stronger and more suspenseful. However, Butler didn’t write the series that way so there is no use in going over this idea. Instead, we can question how our experience of Patternmaster would have been different if we had read the series in the order that it was written, rather than reading it chronologically. A classmate of ours, Ashley Allen, mistakenly began to read Patternmaster before the other books in the series, making her perspective a rather interesting one. I decided to interview her, desiring to see what her initial thoughts of Patternmaster were before she read the other books. Continue reading Interview with Ashley Allen on Patternmaster
In class when we were discussing why Professor McCoy should like Patternmaster and then why she should dislike Patternmaster, a student made a comment about how the character Teray was based on Octavia Butler’s first boyfriend. He then mentioned how he had connected this fact to how in the book Teray is always looked at as a boy fresh out of school. Since I heard this comment in class, I have not been able to get it out of my head. When I continued to read the book, I noticed how often the characters mentioned that Teray had only recently graduated, and I also took note of how his personality reflected this fact. It almost seems to dominate his character and his presence in the book over all.
In the Patternist series, growth is a major concept. Although we haven’t read Patternmaster yet, so far each book in the series has an aspect about growth. In Wild Seed, the character Doro creates communities of people with special powers and forces them to breed with each other, desiring to make an empire of these kinds of people. In Mind of My Mind, Mary creates a “pattern,” originally by accident. This pattern connects many people together who have special abilities. In Clay’s Ark, there is an intelligent alien disease that eventually becomes an epidemic. Wild Seed and Mind of My Mind are different from the growth in Clay’s Ark in many ways, yet at the same time there are many similarities between the two types of growth. Continue reading The Aspect of Growth in the Patternist Series
Doro is dead.
Doro is actually dead.
After four thousand years of living by taking others’ bodies and trying to build an empire, Doro finally met his match. He always thought that he would never die, that nobody could ever be more powerful than him. I believed this myself. As I read that Mary was going to stand up against him, I had no hope that she would survive his attack. And after reading two books about him and his plans, I found that when he actually failed, I was partially relieved.
In Fledging, I found the concept of “symbionts” a little strange. Although symbionts love their Ina, I find that love to be somewhat false. Clearly, the feelings that exist between the symbiont and the Ina would not exist if it weren’t for the Ina venom. If the human loved the Ina before the bite, and knew what he/she was getting into, then their connection after the bite would feel more genuine and more consensual. It seems as though the symbionts are stuck in that position, whether they want to be there or not. This is not true for all of them, however. For instance, the character Joel always knew that he wanted a female Ina to settle down with. He knew all about the life of being a symbiont before he chose to be one. Wright did not. In fact, I remember Wright complaining several times in the story that he didn’t know what he was getting into when he got involved with Shori. His line on page 161 stuck out to me: “We let them [take over our lives] because we have no choice. By the time we realize what’s happened to us, it’s too late.” Author Octavia Butler, in Conversations with Octavia Bulter, says, “The position of Wright…is an interesting one. He’s not that unhappy about where he ends up, but it’s not something he chose” (203).