Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Nature of Family in Wild Seed (part 3)

By Briana Whiteside
And she was lovely as he had expected. A virgin of course. Even in Wheatley, young girls usually saved themselves for husbands, or for Doro. She was ready for him. She had some pain, but it didn’t seem to matter to her (139).
In this scene from chapter 7, Doro just engaged in sexual activity with his daughter Nweke. Doro has come back to his seed village to check on Nweke because she was nearing transition—the period where those with the potential of having super powers painfully come into them. He purposefully had sex with Nweke to punish Anyanwu because she believed it was an abomination.

The scene implies that even Doro’s children are used for his personal benefits. Butler highlights the hedonistic views of Doro to achieve personal gratification as well as his inclination to rule as a brutal dictator over his community. He has the power to even commit acts of incest with his offspring without ridicule, while simultaneously emotionally punishing Anyanwu for refusing him.

Butler further complicates the relationship between Anyanwu and Doro to later expose how he would use more heinous acts to punish her. Anyanwu is the only woman who has openly disagreed, challenged, and displayed disgust for Doro and his tactics, and he does not know how to effectively change her. That is, until he uses Anyanwu's own daughter as a way to display his power.

In the case of Wild Seed, Butler highlights how children can be used as humbling mechanisms for the mother. On the one hand, a child can be a mother’s pride and joy, and on the other hand, that very child can be used to imprison the mother.

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. 

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