Pattern: A pattern of language that suggests superiority while simultaneously depicting that the humankind is an entity to gain from. Each example contains phrasing that seems to place those who do not inhabit Earth above those who do inhabit Earth while mentioning that humankind has been gained from in one way or another (perceiving, studying, obsessing over, gaining knowledge of, used as a form to shape into or advance from).

Example 1: “Your bodies are fatally flawed. The ooloi perceived this at once. At first it was very hard for them to touch you. Then you became an obsession for them. Now it’s hard for them to leave you alone” (38).

Example 2: “How can we not? We’ve helped your world restore itself. We’ve studied your bodies, your thinking, your literature, your historical records, and your many cultures . . . . We know more of what you’re capable of than you do” (32).

Example 3: “’You’ll live’, he said. “Your people will live. You’ll have your world again. We already have much of what we want of you. Your cancer in particular” (40).

Example 4: “”Of course not.” His tentacles smoothed. “We do what you call genetic engineering. We know you had begun to do it yourself a little bit, but it’s foreign to you. We do it naturally. We must do it. It renews us, enables us to survive as an evolving species instead of specializing ourselves into extinction or stagnation”” (40). My thought: Clearly they have already taken the DNA from the humans, without permission, so are they using that to renew themselves? This can be seen as another example of using the humankind after conveniently saving them from destruction.

Example 5: “Regeneration of lost limbs. Controlled malleability. Future Oankala may be much less frightening to potential trade partners if they’re able to reshape themselves and look more like the partners before the trade” (41). My thought: They’re able to reshape themselves – This suggests a possibility of an odd underlying motive as to why the people of Earth were rescued, which prompts the question: are the humans rescued to be an example as to what can be reshaped into, or adapted from?

  1. Hypothesis (A): Earth and the human race have been rescued for a reason other than a mere act of protection for Earth and her inhabitants. The language has a particular style that suggests that the human race may have been taken rather than rescued as an act of opportunity rather than of kindness. This might tell us that the human race was rescued to further benefit those who do not inhabit Earth, such as a tool or kind to utilize or adapt from, which I think can be seen through the actions surrounding the obsession and keen observation. This may be meaningful when understanding why the humans were saved and what purpose or function they truly serve.
  1. Hypothesis (B): Humankind must be inferior to those who do not inhabit Earth. With an emphasis upon example 1, 2, and 4, I noticed that the language has a pattern of suggesting that human bodies are flawed or need some form of improvement to a higher standard, or otherwise would have been doomed. The sentence, “we know you had begun to do it yourself a little bit, but it’s foreign to you. We do it naturally,” suggests a natural sense of superiority above those who have come from Earth due to being able to complete tasks that humans have only begun a little bit. This sentence, in addition to the other examples that I have listed, might be meaningful when trying to understand the mindset and attitude of those who do not inhabit Earth. They each seem to suggest that they are more mindful and physically superior that those who inhabit Earth.