(Original Hypothesis from the last blog)
Hypothesis 1: I think that the Oankali hide information from Lilith because they have a superior knowledge of the human race and understand what will help her become more comfortable/productive/beneficial for them and what will not so they keep the information that will stunt her progress in achieving these things.
Hypothesis 2: Liltith mentions that she can’t catch any of the Oankali in a lie but I don’t think this actually matters. Why would she assume she could interpret the moral code of a race of highly evolved aliens? The Oankali lack the level of emotion felt by humans and I think that they are playing Lilith in one way or another. Maybe keeping her to multiply or some other kind of tool for their purposes.
Pattern: The Oankali are most certainly amicable with the humans and are not trying to plot against them as I previously assumed.
Example 1: the oankali actually seem interested in humans enjoying themselves as long as it doesn’t interfere with the overall plan. Page 135 was interesting for me in this regard as Nikanj says “If you have to do something, it might as well feel good.” This is interesting because it shows that Nikanj cares how the humans feel and has also thought about what kind of things are pleasurable to humans whereas if the oankali intended to enslave them, they would not care.
Example 2: On page 231, Nikanj reveals that Lilith would know how to kill an oankali with the knowledge that they had given her. I had not considered this. The idea of the oankali being vulnerable hadn’t seemed feasible till the attacks on them seen at the end of book four. This leads me to believe that they like Lilith and trust her almost as if they are on the same playing field.
Example 3: Page 225 was also very important in my understanding of the book as Nikanj shows sorrow for the death of Joseph. Even if the Oankali would be disadvantaged by the loss of humans, they still have many more to choose from without Joseph, so the idea that this death was significant to Nikanj is evident that the humans are more to him than just a self interest.
My hypothesis then is that the Oankali are genuinely interested in humans and seek their well-being. The real villains in the novel are ironically other humans and the oankali are really the only force that can save the humans from themselves. To reflect on my post for blog 3, I think I was viewing the Oankali as having not been tested. They had all the control up until that point. They still have control over the humans, but I think the vulnerability that they allow themselves in evident of something much different than a collection of zoo animals. I tryst the oankali now and think that they are real straight-shooters.