Ambivalent Ambiguity, By Octavia Butler Essay example

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Ambivalent Ambiguity Dawn by science-fiction novelist Octavia Butler defies the constraints of Earth, moving human issues of identity and individuality into the unknown frontier of outer space. Butler begins the novel in the aftermath of the desolation of the human species, presenting the reader with the few people saved—maybe imprisoned—by the Oankali, an extraterrestrial race. The human based necessity to retain individualism and the rejection of the new liberal mechanics of the foreign race reveals a human inclination to fear the unknown. Holding onto conservative ideals, even in a drastically different context, leads to the need to destroy all that resembles an intermediate “other”. Injecting a foreign intermediary into humanity causes our binary dependent hierarchical society to regress to a more primitive state. The humans begin to crave sexual fulfillment and act on this in different ways. Butler’s protagonist, Lilith Iyapo, experiences this deterioration of her own people. The Oankali and the humans experience the discord firsthand in their conflicting gender and sex norms and practices. Centuries after the decimation of the human population on Earth, the human race still perpetuates binary gender stereotypes aboard a starship, transcending time. This constancy of these binaries originates in the biblical story of Adam and Eve. Butler’s protagonist shares her name with the biblical and mythical figure, Lilith. According to legend, God created the historical Lilith…

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