Category Archives: Fledgling

The Dirty Deed

Last Friday, Beth made a Google document for us to list our “alarms” which I suppose go hand-in-hand with the “traps” that we have constantly been caught in when reading Fledgling. Among the “alarms” were thoughts about pedophilia, slavery, and polygamy and polyandry. As many of you know, I’ve been constantly struggling with OEB’s diction and word choice. I’ve even gone as far as to call it “cheesy” or even “silly” in many cases. This, I’ve realized, happens to be my own annoying alarm that I’ve been subconsciously battling with, since I tend to stay away from “plastic-like” dialogue and melodramatic cliché in my own writing. Let’s not even get me started on OEB’s usage of “smiles” and “shrugs!” Continue reading The Dirty Deed

The “other-ing” Ina

Alarm bells have been sounding in my reading of Fledgling around the issue of implicit prejudice. As Shori (and by extension, we the readers) becomes better and better acquainted with the world of the Ina, the more the relationship between the symbionts and “their” Ina is explored (by both Shori and Butler), and I felt that something was amiss. It seems to me that the more important trope of race in Fledgling is not the way that the other Ina treat Shori, the member of their species who differs from them in appearance, but rather how the Ina of the novel treat humans, another group of sentient beings who are vastly different from the Ina in culture, history, and genetic makeup. Through the narrative device of her amnesia, Shori functions as an objective observer to these different attitudes. Continue reading The “other-ing” Ina

More on naming and power in fledgling

Having read and been inspired by Hanna Richman’s previous post on “The Relationship between Naming and Dominance in fledgling,” I want to continue the discussion on the links between (and framing of) naming and power present in Octavia Butler’s fledgling. As Hanna described in her post, more than constituting a performance of dominance, the process of naming forms part what Foucault calls “the nomination of the visible,” a collective enterprise of identifying, categorizing, and defining that is part and parcel of the knowledge-building and visual paradigm so central to “the opening up of what is called modernity” (Fred Moten, “Black Mo’nin'”) in the nineteenth-century.  Indeed, the process of naming as illustrated in Fledgling operates, at least in part, in conjunction with this type of naming as a formation of knowledge (and thereby power). Again, as Hanna already described, what Pramod Nayar calls Wright’s “Adamic act” of naming the protagonist (Shori) Renee early on in the novel stands as a testament to the power dynamics already present in their relationship. (View Nayar’s article here.) In this way, Shori is “reborn” and immediately inscribed within a discursive formation as dictated by Wright. Continue reading More on naming and power in fledgling

A Whole New Meaning to “Dracula”

So, while caught in the depths of youtube– you know, those places where you have no idea how you got there because you started off listening to August Burns Red and then you’re suddenly watching a compilation of cats saying “no”– I happened upon a new popular artist that sings a song called “Dracula.” Considering the talk that we had in class today about the classic vampire trope and the popular media’s quasi-occult obsession with vampires, I thought this music video was both relevant and comical. Continue reading A Whole New Meaning to “Dracula”

The “Scentsy” Sex

During last week’s class discussion regarding the question of what brings people together, many interesting thoughts and ideas were presented. Common interests, proximity, power, and even chance were amongst the several suggestions. But perhaps even more baffling than what brings large groups of people together is what brings two individual people – often out of a diverse group full of countless pairing possibilities – together for what (as Dr. McCoy so eloquently put it) “the sexy sex?” Continue reading The “Scentsy” Sex

Fledgling and the Theory of Cognitive Dissonance

While reading Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler, I have been challenged by many controversial plot developments. Being that this novel is a construct of the sci-fi/fantasy genre, I immediately began to think of my education classes with Dr. Keegan. Dr. Keegan introduced my English education class to a theory called Cognitive Dissonance created by Leon Festinger in 1957 (for more click here), that suggests that when humans encounter values and beliefs that come into direct conflict with their own, they wrestle with these new ideas until they can integrate old convictions with the new notions and therefore restore a cognitive balance. This is often done with works of science fiction and fantasy due to the “literary world” that, through being removed from our own world and sense of reality, can create a virtual workshop for readers to experiment and put their beliefs to the test. Due to the fact that the fictional literary world is removed from our own, the experimentation with morality and values is non-threatening to one’s existence and consequently does not send the reader into an existential crisis but rather gives them a platform to explore and develop convictions safely. Continue reading Fledgling and the Theory of Cognitive Dissonance