Monthly Archives: March 2014

Reading Journal #6

The Oankali is divided into three categories according to where they will live. Dinso are the ones who are gonna stay on Earth, the Toaht members will continue to live in the ship they are and Akjais will leave in the new ship. The Oankali understand that the survival of the species depend on them splitting and expanding, and they believe the future generations can reunited and will have a lot to exchanged. This idea sounds really strange to Lilith: “They probably won’t even know one another.” To what Jdahya answers: “No, they’ll recognize one another. Memory of a division is passed on biologically. I remember every one that has taken place in my family since we left the homeworld”(p.36).

This super species Memory is a fascinating idea. Humans don’t have that so the fact that we accumulate so many documents proving that we are related, so many family photo albums and, more recently, so much data on the Web that register our connections seems to be a desperate and not so efficient way to keep those people in our memory. The Oankali reject paper, pencil and any other external artifact that are not in connection with their bodies. Oankalis are “traders” who maintain a symbiotic relationship with everything that surrounds them. While humans, interact with this type of technology that we have now just by perceiving this inanimate objects that does interact with us in return. In that sense, we are split us from our records and we can not perpetuate our memories by heritage.  That suggests that humans are less connected to their ancestors than Oankalis. It’s strange that Lilith cares so much about preserving a species that has much less ability of remembering her.

Reading Journal #5

Dawns’s plot is centered on the Oankali, an alien specie that disturbingly differ from humans in their manner of existence. They look extremely different than us and they have three genders: male, female and ooloi. Brother and sisters usually mate in association with a ooloi. There is a logic in their system of breeding. The siblings’ genes combined keep and strengthen their desirable characteristics and the ooloi, called the “treasured strangers,” sort of balance out the combination, avoiding problems caused by interbreeding. Finally, they use genetic manipulation to alter themselves and their environment. From all the living things Oankali have encountered so far, they had extracted and manipulated genetic information as well as incorporated what they judged useful to their own genetic code. They are the result of a radical process of interbreeding and absorption of other species genetic material.

In essence, the Oankali, offensively, differ from humans. Indeed, they contradict the most fundamental foundations for human beings: They blur and rearrange gender differences, family structures and the very way species manage to survive. Their appearance is shocking at first but the possibility their lives represent to us is, to say the least, blasphemous and stunning.

Class Notes – 3/27/14

* Blade Runner
* From Human / Machine to Future Earth
* Dawn
* Close reading

Deckard’s attitudes towards androids in book v movie
— rachel
— more talkative
— status issue is missing in the movie
— setting — from dusty, dry — to crowded, dim, wet, dark, rainy, gritty, urban (book’s urban = desolate, empty —
— animals — missing — empathy, class division
— movie — owl. snake. unicorn

Caves of Steel – DADOES — technology advances
technology advances
question of control — can we control technology as it advances

Let’s Enhance” – YouTube video

robots growing past what they were designed for — learning more

can mechanical devices evolve?

seems like the androids are more organic than mechanical

replicants — name points to clones, copies

humans had a fear of going extinct

Future Earth

Dawn – Octavia Butler
ship — as organic material
Oankali —
from technology back to nature

don’t live unsustainably
don’t tear things down

SYMBIOTIC relationships

artificial/synthetic/mechanical vs. genetic modifications
Oankali — interested in genetic information
building a better race/species

Lilith’s attitudes towards Oankali

human fear of unfamiliarity
— look different
— sexes – male/female/Ooloi
— sensory organs
— sensory organs — things that allows them to see also allows can kill you
— interact w/environment in different ways
— humans fear motives of Oankali, what will happen when they are modified
— in process of stopping the extinction of humanity, they are modifying humans to not be human any more

— unknown about humankind’s future

Octavia Butler: “[my books] are stories of power [. . .] I bring together multi-racial groups of men and women who must cope with one another’s differences as well as with new, no necessarily controllable abilities within themselves.”

humans dealing with a species that has more power

— have Lilith’s life in their hands
— have studied her
— what’s true — untrue

— cf. Oankali treat Lily as we (in our current moment) treat animals
— make decisions for them
— cf. do androids dream –> giving L. offer to kill herself
— Lilith — role — teaching other humans —
— making decisions that benefit her in long run — but she doesn’t understand how/why
— or humans to other human — parent/child — ex. taking a child to get a shot

spaying cats — ethical dimensions
are oankalis doing to humans what we have done to animals and to other humans?

process of radical inclusion — absorbing everything they run into — we are one peer species — we face being absorbed by them
— they don’t have areas — no gender separation, mixing, families

oankali — absorptive model, don’t see themselves as conquering species
— Lilith — feels that it is invasive
— Lilith’s resistance — opposite of Oankali — of what they are — she is very strong, individual —

vast majority of them — mutations

Major topics
— Difference / differentiation
— Bodies — anatomy — tentacles, — alien bodies, human bodies
— Issues of power and resistance — who has power, how is power used, how are characters manipulated?
— ethics of scientific experimentation and observation — cf. treatment of animals by humans
— imprisonment

p. 52 “the child hesitated”
— character — touches oankali — come a long way from fear of the unknown
begins to understand imprisonment more deeply
“forest of tentacles”
— what is a forest? what is inside a forest? mystery

Group exercise in close reading:
1. Share passages
2. Focus as a group on one of the passages
3. Think about issues of meaning and language – focus on important metaphors and their meanings
4. Discuss how the passage would be different w/different language
5. Interpret the passage

Journal Entry 5

The comparison of how aliens treat humans vs. how humans treat animals

In the novel Dawn, alien Jdahya has been helping Lilith recover from what seems to be a nuclear war on earth. He has brought her among his ship and has been trying its best efforts to encourage her wellbeing.  At first Lilith was trapped in a white boxed room without windows similar to a cage in which we would keep an animal.  Jdahya along with other of his kind observed her intensely without Lilith even knowing that she was captured by aliens. The aliens did not tell her where she was because they knew that Lilith would be overwhelmed.  Lilith was suffering in her caged box for two “awakened” years.  Loneliness cause insanity and depression and the aliens were well of that.  They wanted to wait for the right moment to introduce themselves.  When Jdahya finally introduced himself and told her everything, Lilith became furious at the fact that no one told her anything about why she was in her box.  Jdahya countered her a aggression with the simple term, “It was for your own good.”  Similarly, that is what we do to animals. Being that we are more intelligent than animals, we do things to them that they don’t understand that may harm them now but will help them in the long-run. For example, giving a dog a shot for rabies. The dog is unwilling to take the shot but we forcefully give it to it because it’s for his own good.  Lilith was fed regularly with plain tasting, colorless, yet nutritional food.  Lilith detested it and wish she had something better tasting.  Again this food was given to increase her health.  We do the same to our pets.  I’m sure that our pets hate eating the same repetitive foods over and over again but, we feed it to them because it increases there overall health.  In conclusion, the aliens are treating the humans as animal.  They are observing and experimenting with them.

Journal 5

Dawn by Octavia E. Butler is a great novel that reminded me of the 2012 film Prometheus when the reader realizes that protagonist, has been kept in confinement for two hundred and fifty four years. Reminded me of how the crew in Prometheus the passengers had traveled for two years to be awakened like it was nothing. Lilith didn’t even realize she was kept for that long. Another cool moment was when the aliens removed her cancer made me think if they had some advanced machinery like they did in the movie Prometheus. The novel also reminded me of the 2010 film Shutter Island, it’s also a novel in which the main character is distorted from a past event that he starts too see things that aren’t there. Dawn and the Shutter Island novel had kind of the similar beginning. I was really amazed by imagery in this novel best book so far that didn’t put me to sleep.

Journal 5

For me, this has been the most interesting book in class so far. I am excited to see how the plot pans out because I can’t even begin to guess at the Oankali’s true motives. There have been a few themes throughout the first 100 pages but I think one that is most prevalent is this idea of imprisonment. We know now that the humans have been captive for a long time while the alien race fixes earth to make it inhabitable again. Once Lilith is Awoken for good, she is given a false sense of freedom. She is made to feel like a part of the family, all the while she is just a pet. After learning (and often guessing) about the Oankali’s intentions she begins to feel like one of earth’s animals who, once endangered, was captivated, breed, modified and otherwise controlled entirely by another species. Their intentions to preserve a species seem good, and given how gently the Oankali treat humans, their intentions seem decent too. But despite this, she is still just a well-treated prisoner and we have yet to see what this “trade” is that they keep referring to. We shall see where this theme leads us. All I know is what I will be doing this summer… finishing this series!

Journal #5

Octavia Butler’s Dawn creates a very interesting future for humans. The alien race of the Okanli people have saved the human race from destruction and are now preparing them to be released one day back on earth. I believe it is very interesting that the humans will be released onto earth with no tools so they can start all over again. It makes you wonder if it was possible for humans to have had been reintroduced to earth before. One question i would have liked Lilith to have asked if the engineering of human genes and re-population of earth had happened before.

Journal #5

In Octavia Butler’s Dawn, it is interesting to see how the character of Lilith jumps back and forth with her perception of the creatures that hold her captive.  Overall she has a complete discomfort with the creature; just the sight alone is too much for her at times.  There is this one moment where she is figuring out whether it is a male or female, and then as soon as she figures that out she says at least she doesn’t have to deal with the discomfort of referring to the creature as “It” and could now call it “Him”.  Another interesting part is when she tries to figure out if one of her old cell mate is still alive.  The creature confirms that her old cell mate is still alive but right after Lilith questions why she should even believe anything the creature says.  This is very interesting because it is one of the truest statements.  Why should any person being held against their will believe a word there captive says?  Throughout their conversation the creature is notoriously shady and only shedding light on the parts of the conversation and history that they choice to reveal.  For Lilith, this is a very hard situation to take in. 

Journal #4

After reading the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick, it was interesting to see how animals played such a large role in the society of that world.  In the world of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, status is having a real animal.  The issue of having a real animal versus an android animal plays very heavily in the interactions of many people throughout the book.  This is interesting because in our world there are many times we hear of an animal on verge of extinction and hardly anything is being done about it.  This novel in a way provides a glimpse into what may happen in terms of animals and their future.  The novel also presents an idea that people only want what they can’t have.  Only till the point of the animals dying off and there being so few of them, does a person care about the animals.  The people in the story aren’t buying the animals for the right reasons to keep them alive but merely buying them to advance their status.  With such a view like that, it’s no wonder the animals have died off and android animals are being made to replace them. 

Journal number 5

So far I have a very conflicted outlook on this novel. Upon reading the first 100 pages you see a human named Lilith being helped by individuals that have kept her captive for two years. After being “freed” she becomes apart of a huge experiment. So far the book is interesting, however I’m still a little skeptic of the outcome. Although she is no longer physically captive she still is not completely freed. Lilith is now cured thanks to the aliens with limited facial features, but they continue to use her to help other humans with survival skills they believe are necessary for the world(earth) to come. I still don’t quite understand why they freed her or what their true intentions. So far I’m left clueless to what Lilith outcome maybe. Although they have cured her they fail to help her with any concerns she have about her family. I can’t wait to see how this ends.