By Briana Whiteside
Mary explains, “My eyes—traffic-light green…and my skin, a kind of light coffee, were gifts from the white man’s body that Doro was wearing when Rina got pregnant” (277).Over time the covers of Octavia Butler’s books have changed in significant ways. I find the three above covers of Mind of My Mind interesting because only one—if we go by the description provided by Butler —could possibly resemble Mary, the novel's protagonist. The woman's face on the book in the middle most resembles Mary’s “traffic-light green” eyes and possible “light coffee” skin complexion, though the overall cover is tinted green.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the politics of hair in regards to black women. When I look at the covers of Mind of My Mind, I’m reminded of those politics. Although Mary is a black woman and considered beautiful, there are no descriptions of her hair texture in the book. The tightly coiled hair depicted on one cover, the figure with no hair, and the loose waves on the other seem to tell different narratives of the same story.
A Notebook on Octavia Butler
Briana Whiteside is a graduate student in English at SIUE and a contributing writer for the Cultural Front.