Pattern: The Oankali are resistant against humanity becoming independent.

  • Example: Refusal to grant Lilth pens or paper to aid in her education. Nikanj instead ‘alters’ Lilith to improve her memory and focus. (pp. 61-62, 80-81)
  • Example: It takes a while, and lots of trust, for Lilith to be able to open doors or get food by herself. (pp. 102-103)

Hypothesis 1: They want to keep humans tethered to them, outside of Lilith’s job of becoming a part of the breeding program set up by the Oankali. They might be needed for other things, given how eager the Oankali are to learn from Lilith (shown by her education of Nikanj).

Hypothesis 2: It’s not just for the health and safety of the humans; keeping the humans dependent on the good-will of the Oankali means that they don’t have an option to hurt the Oankali. Keeping the humans from independence and freedom restricts the possibility that Lilith, or any of the other Awakened humans, would retaliate.