Pattern: The pattern I detected was Lilith’s tendancy to try to relate to the Oankali. Whenever she is talking to them or trying to describe them, Lilith refers to things on Earth instead of trying to relate to and understand their culture.

  • “The big tentacles, gray and rough, reminded her of elephants’ trunks-” (page 48)
  • “How…did these people manage their sex lives, anyway? How did the ooloi fit in?” (page 51)
  • She constantly refers to Nikanj as “the child”
  • She corrects Nikanj’s grammar at the bottom of page 56

Hypothesis 1: One reason behind Lilith’s thinking is that she is in denial. The shock of Awakening is still present. She is processing the Oankali’s existence by trying to assimilate them into the culture she is used to. When she is trying to understand their “sex lives”, she doesn’t understand how a third individual is involved. She can only think about sex as being between a male and a female. The fact is that the Oankali are not regular people and have a completely different anatomy than that of humans and it’s not fair to assume that they will do things the same way as humans. She does this because she is still in denial. This is important to the story because at some point she will have to deal with her new surroundings. When she finally does, she could react violently or have a complete breakdown.

Hypothesis 2: Another theory I have is that she is not in denial at all, but is understanding everything that is happening and wants to destroy the Oankali culture. By asserting her way of life into the Oankali’s, like when she corrects Nikanj’s grammar, she is recognizing her ways as superior to those of her captors. This is important to the story because she could gather the rest of the humans and maybe start an uprising. That would be pretty cool.