“ ‘He will never leave us alone,’ Anyanwu said flatly.In this scene, Doro has tracked Anyanwu after a century of searching for her. Instead of killing her like he initially planned, he brought two of her descendants to live on her plantation. One of the descendants, Joseph, had killed Anyanwu’s son in his sleep by controlling his feet causing him to walk off the balcony and fall to his death. In turn, Anyanwu killed Joseph while she was in animal form. Doro has just come back to the plantation and wants to know the details of the event; he summons Margaret, Anyanwu’s daughter and Joseph’s wife.
“Margaret blinked, looked at Anyanwu. ‘What shall I do?’
“ ‘Answer his questions—all of them, even if they are personal and offensive. Answer and tell him the truth.’”
“He scares me.’”
“Good. There is very much to fear. Answer him and obey him. Leave any criticizing or disagreeing with him to me.’”
There was silence until just before they reached the house. Then Margaret said, ‘We’re your weakness aren’t we? You could outrun him for a hundred more years if not for us” (219).
The scene implies that Anyanwu still recognizes Doro as a potential threat to her life and her children’s. However, it shows that even as a potential threat, Anyanwu still plans to stand her ground against Doro and his breeding communities. Even after spending a century in animal form, the scene still exposes unresolved tension between Doro and Anyanwu.
Butler highlights the complications surrounding motherhood to expose how Anyanwu becomes trapped between the decision to gain her personal freedom or protect her children. Anyanwu has the ability to survive and outrun Doro, but her children will be tortured and killed because of her disobedience. This small yet crucial scene calls into question the consequences and extent of which mothers, parents, or guardians must sacrifice themselves for their children.
• Troubled Relationships in Wild Seed (pt3)
• The Nature of Family in Wild Seed (pt 3)
• The Nature of Family in Wild Seed (pt. 2)
• Troubled Relationships in Wild Seed (pt 2)
• Troubled relationships in Wild Seed (pt 1)
• The Nature of Family in Wild Seed (pt1)
• A Notebook on Octavia Butler
Briana Whiteside is a graduate student in English at SIUE and a contributing writer for the Cultural Front.