Tag Archives: octavia butler

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