Tag Archives: dawn

Journal Entry 7

An awkward event

A truly awkward event in to novel Dawn was when Jdahya performed the Onokali mating ritual on both Lilith and Joseph for the first time.

It was Joseph’s second time of ever seeing the alien creature. Jdahya presented itself to Joseph so he could get use to Jdahya’s grotesque appearance. ¬†At this point Jdahya’s goal was to get Joseph to trust it enough to change and improve his body chemistry. In order to do so, Jdahya had to drug him which made him semi-unconscious.

During Joseph’s semi-unconscious state, for some odd reason Jdahya thought it was okay to perform the trio mating ritual with Lilith and Joseph without Joseph’s consent. ¬†¬†Lilith was okay with it since she had already performed this alone with Jdahya, but imagine the awkwardness Joseph must of felt when Jdahya’s sexual organs penetrated his skin. ¬†First of all this mating ritual involves 3 sexes instead of the usual human 2. ¬†Second, the emotional feelings Joseph was receiving were unnatural to humans. Third, this is Joseph’s second time of ever seeing the alien. He doesn’t even know Jdahya well enough to even consider this ritual as a possibility. ¬†In a way it seemed almost as it were rape from my perspective.

Class Notes – 4/3/14

Octavia Butler, Dawn

In-Class Writing:
Reflect on one of the following themes in Octavia Butler’s Dawn:




— Oankali understanding of time vs. Lilith understanding of time
O: have a grand scheme — don’t know how long i will take
— patience — much more than humans
— time = elusive
— no real sense of time
— being on ship — lose track of 24 hour day/night cycle
L: her own lifetime

–> dislocation from time

why do they seem to have an infinite amount of time?
— different life span?

— songs
— memory vs. access to memory
memory, kinship, community

— writing implements/paper
internal memory vs. external memory

— Oankali destroying ruins
oankali want to control future of humankind, which means controlling the past
–destroying ruins, destroying human culture in general
why do we want to save animals from extinction? how do we do it?
— guilt
— ecosystems — adaptations/change

why destroy our ruins?
— maybe not trying to dominate us, but trying to free us from obsession with cultivating our own traditions/past models — b/c those traditions/models brought you to another end
— cf. intelligence + hierarchical

Self interest/preservation as a central part of species survival
— cf. conserve rain forests b/c we don’t know everything about them yet — save both for earth and for planet. but if big pharma gets

— memory — in the sense of lived experiences
—- altered memories — things that the Oankali have induced humans to forget
— memory — in the sense of a past
— memory — in a kind of mechanical sense — cf. clones/prints



Birth as metaphor
genetic experimentation
awakening/alteration — rebirth
Dawn – title — beginning of a new day/era

Journal Entry 6

“Your children will know us, Lilith. You never will.” – ¬†Kahguyaht ¬† (Page 111)

When Kahguyaht said “you never will” It is implying that Lilith will never truly understand the Onakali (aliens) both physically nor mentally. ¬†Lilith does not have the sensory organs which the aliens posses. ¬†Their organs let them experience unimaginable sensations which we would never be able to experience nor understand. In a way it’s as trying to envision the 4th dimension. ¬†The 4th dimension is not something you can see, hear or touch. ¬†It is a something we cannot experience because we are bounded to own 3 dimension body and world. Scientist have an idea of what this phenomena is but, no one could truly understand the 4th dimension.

When it stated ” Your children will know us” it is implying that Lilith’s children will be genetically tampered with which will allow them to have sensory organs that are similar to the aliens. ¬†This is foreshadowing what will be of humans in the future. They will be a hybrid creature with traits of both alien and human. ¬†In a sense, the pureness of a human will be lost. ¬†When Kahguyaht stated this, Lilith said nothin. ¬†She has accepted her people’s faith and is no longer going against the aliens. ¬†Then again she never had a choice. ¬†It’s either agree with the aliens or be but back into suspended animation until she agrees.

Throughout the entire novel, humans never had to option to leave to Earth without being experimented on and genetically altered first. ¬†The Onakali believe that tampering with the humans will increase their chance for survival. ¬†The Onakali’s intensions are positive, but in doing so, it ripped the freedom right out of humanity.

-Henry Aguilar

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.

Reading Journal #5- 3/27/14- Dawn

Octavia Butler’s novel Dawn is a very terrifying outlook on what could happen to the human race.¬† “Humanicide” is becoming more of a threat as destructive technologies keep advancing, and more countries are gaining access to nuclear weapons.¬† What stood out for me was the social commentary Butler added to her writing.¬† This novel was published in 1987 during the midst of the Cold War.¬† The not so subtle hint at total nuclear devastation spoke measures back then, and it resonates even stronger now and in the near future.¬† The actions of the Oankali mirrored the atrocities committed during the times of slavery in the United States.¬† The Oankali treated the humans disgustingly, ignoring cries for clothes and depriving them of their culture.¬† This novel holds a lot of reflection on the past and present times.