English 451

October 27, 2011

Consent and Agency

Filed under: Uncategorized — kev89 @ 4:06 am

As we discussed in class on Tuesday, on of the most prevalent issues in Octavia Butler’s Dawn is the concept of consent, and whether Lilith ever could truly consent to what the Ooloi wanted her to do. I noticed this theme became even more dominant in the second half of the story. I believe this is due to the addition of more human characters into the story, as well as Lilith’s responsibility towards them. First, this makes the issue of consent more complex as now more characters, each with their own characteristics and traits, now find themselves in a similar position to Lilith. Lilith herself is also in a similar postion that the Ooloi held towards her earlier, seemingly gaining control over other humans while still being controlled by the ooloi herself.

On pages 157-161, the theme of consent comes across perhaps as strongly as ever when Joseph is controlled by Nikanj. With Joseph completely under Nikanj’s influence, it’s hard for Lilith to determine whether he is actually sincere about his feelings for her, and leaves her wondering what they are. On page 164, this question is expanded when Nikanj reveals that the oolai approved of Lilith and Joseph as a couple. With Nikanj and the oolai exerting so much influence on these most personal aspects of their lives this raises the question of how much control did Lilith and the other humans really have other their lives.

 

 

 



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