- “She was intended to live and reproduce, not to die. Experimental animal, parent to domestic animals? …part of a captive breeding program? ….Surrogate motherhood?” (60)
- “but had fathered no children due to a biological problem the Oankali believed they had corrected. …. He had blamed his wives, all the while refusing to see a doctor himself.” (118-119)
- “a place for pregnant women who don’t like the idea of being treated as though they were sick.” “All the questioning and testing she had gone through…the Oankali must know her in some ways better than any human” (91)
- “It’s her duty to get together with someone. …. Get your own damn woman!” (176, 177)
- “He’s not in control even of what his own body does and feels. He’s taken like a woman…” (203)
- “Gabriel snatched her away” (229) (that is, snatched Tate away from Kahguyaht)
Hypothesis: In the above passages, the female body is presented as the final area of conquest necessary for total control of the human race. In the first, Lilith speculates on the extermination of the human race (or rather, appropriation) by the Oankali: all the conclusions she draws about how the appropriation will come about are tied to motherhood, breeding and inextricably tied to her gender/sex. Women, rather than men, are continually fought over by Oankali and male humans alike. Although the men’s bodies are also ‘colonized’ by their Ooloi, they equate this lack of control with feminization, just as on Earth, a problem with fathering children is blamed on the woman, rather than the man.
Reflection: The main difference in randomly pulling patterns as opposed to returning to the text was the connections I could make throughout the novel, occasionally many pages apart. In the second two quotes, for example, the appropriation of the female body is shown to be an issue of contention of originating on Earth, and only expressed/perpetuated (as opposed to created) by the power struggle between humans and Oankali. Victor Dominic refuses to question his own reproduction, instead blaming his lack of children. Lilith, in her own pregnancy, refuses to go to a doctor because to do so would be akin to being “sick;” the process of sickness involves a physical colonization of the body by germs/viruses (see War of the Worlds). The continual fear of giving the Ooloi children to “tamper with” also originates on Earth, where children are seen (socially and in many cases, legally) as the property of their parents. The loss of property over children, over the female womb, is equated with the extermination of the human race because it is the most important, fundamental and unquestioned area of control in Western culture.