Octavia Butler Long Fiction Analysis
Octavia E. Butler’s work presents an image of humanity as a congenitally flawed species, perhaps doomed to destroy itself by virtue of the misapplication of it native intelligence, especially in the construction of dysfunctional hierarchies. The various and highly diverse societies featured in her novels are controlled by harsh realities: exacting competition for survival and intense struggles for power, usually culminating in the domination of the weak by the strong and—more unusually, and highly characteristic of her work—exotic patterns of literal and metaphorical parasitism.
Within this rather desolate general framework, there is scope for hope, idealism, love, bravery, and compassion as well as pain and desperation. Butler always looks to valiant outsiders to challenge the systems that oppress them, and they sometimes defeat tyrants to win power for themselves, but such victories are never easy and often costly. She does not deal in straightforwardly happy endings, but in ambiguous conclusions in which, although her protagonists have done their heroic best to improve matters for themselves and others, their environments remain essentially imperfect and perhaps essentially irredeemable.
In intellectually elaborated but often vividly descriptive prose, Butler usually tells her stories from the viewpoints of characters who are initially impotent but are forced by circumstances to attempt significant action. Her protagonists are...
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