Pattern: Lilith’s, and by extension at least a small portion of the captured human’s attitudes toward the Oankali are shifting. No longer is open hostility the only response to their presence. Instead a more open and passive mindset has begun growing among the humans, one in which the Oankali can be regarded as less than exclusively a threat.
Example 1 pg. 163:
“You understand me.”
“Yes.” She moved her hand over its chest, taking a perverse pleasure in feeling its tentacles squirm, then flatten under her hand.
“ Why do you do that?”
“Does it bother you?” she asked, stilling her hand.
“Let me do it, then. I didn’t used to be able to.”
Example 2 pg. 169:
“Why do you let them… touch you?”
“To have changes made. The strength, the fast healing-”
He stopped in front of her, faced her. “Is that all?” he demanded.
She stared at him, seeing the accusation in his eyes, refusing to defend herself. “I liked it,” she said softly. “Didn’t you?”
Example 3 pg. 179:
Yet she did think of Ahajas as a friend- Ahajas, Dichaan, Nikanj… But what was she to them? A tool? A pleasurable perversion? An accepted member of the household? Accepted as what? Round and round. It would have been easier not to care. Down on Earth, it would not matter. The Oankali used her relentlessly for their own purposes, and she worried about what they thought of her.
Hypothesis: While the process is taking it’s time, humans are becoming more accepting of the Oankali. This is symbolized by Lilith’s changing mindset. While the suspicion of the Oankali’s motives remain, she is not altogether disgusted by the very idea of them anymore, and instead seems to be championing the benefits of being with the Oankali to Joseph and others. While Lilith has not fully completed her journey toward full fledged supporter of the Oankali, it appears that this is the path that she is being set on, and could eventually be their most vocal supporter.
Reflection: Upon re reading the passages twice I still believe that my hypothesis is valid, albeit with one caveat. Lilith seems to be changing her opinion on the Oankali, but she also still has a tremendous amount of doubt about their motives and what it is that they actually intend for the human race. As such, these doubts could very easily supersede the goodwill that she has gradually amassed for the Oankali and eventually lead to her becoming a staunch opponent of the Oankali and their plans. This is very much a situation that could go in either direction, and the passages seem to evoke a critical boiling point that is on the horizon, a situation that will ultimately decide which way Lilith’s, and the rest of humanity’s opinions will go.