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

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