Pattern: The pattern I found showed that the oankali despite what they say have a hierarchical relationship between them and the humans. The ooloi also seem to be of a higher status/importance.

  1. “But she did not like the ooloi. It was smug and it tended to treat her condescendingly.” (Page 48)
  2. “And in spite of Jdahya’s claim that the Oankali were not hierarchical, the ooloi seemed to be the head of the house. Everyone deferred to it.” (Page 48)
  3. The last sentence of the quote enforces the idea that only the humans are hierarchial and not the oankali.”You are hierarchical. That’s the older more entrenched characteristic. We saw it in your closest animal relative and in your most distant ones. It’s a terrestrial characteristic.” (Page 39)
  4. Example of ingrained hierarchy: “Where are we? Curt demanded. Who’s in charge here?” (Page 141)
  5. In the animal food chain the predator is on a level above its prey. The oankali being the predators because even at first meeting the humans are afraid of them as though a deep ingrained instinct is alerting them to dangerous predators. “Joseph sighed. I don’t understand why the sight of you should scare me so. You don’t look that threatening. Just…very different.”, “Different is threatening to most species, Nikanji answered. Different is dangerous. It might kill you. That was true to your animal ancestors and your nearest animal relatives. And it’s true for you.” (Page 186)

Hypothesis: The Oankali are hierarchical to a small degree with the ooloi being omniscient and to a larger degree to the humans who are treated as children and animals. Whenever the oankali talk about the humans being hierarchical they bring it up in a way that puts the humans in a “relationship” or “family” with animals. Typically humans are above animals. But the oankali put humans and animals on the same level. Thus making the oankali superiors in every way to the humans.

Reflection: After re-reading my findings I believe my work to be quite a valid interpretation of the text. I had a bit of a harder time finding more concrete evidence of the ooloi being slightly higher than the other oankali but as for the hierarchy between the humans and oankali there are many instances where this hypothesis is supported.