Does the alien in "Bloodchild" have any connection to human nature?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The aliens in “Bloodchild” by Octavia Butler have several connections with human nature. For instance, they are caring. A case in point is T’Gatoi, who is concerned about Gan’s weight and Lien’s stress. T’Gatoi has an attachment to Gan’s family and, therefore, cares for them as any human...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

The aliens in “Bloodchild” by Octavia Butler have several connections with human nature. For instance, they are caring. A case in point is T’Gatoi, who is concerned about Gan’s weight and Lien’s stress. T’Gatoi has an attachment to Gan’s family and, therefore, cares for them as any human would. Furthermore, the aliens have a similar system of leadership when compared to humans. They also participate in politics.

Like humans, the aliens in the short story will do anything to survive. For example, they use Terrans for reproduction and feed them intoxicating eggs to prolong their lives, therefore giving the aliens assurance that their species will continue to survive. Furthermore, the aliens are governed by rules. They also expect Terrans to follow these rules. For instance, it is illegal for Terrans to possess firearms.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

"Bloodchild" contains themes that reflect certain ideas and events pertaining to human nature. For example, one of the most prominent themes within the story is slavery. The extraterrestrial beings (the T'lic) essentially control humans (referred to as Terrans) for the purpose of propagating the T'lic race. The primary role of Terrans is to act as hosts for the parasitic offspring of the T'lic. Throughout the the story, readers are able to see how T'Gatoi, a T'lic delegate responsible for Gan's family, exerts her dominance over Gan's family through her physically imposing nature and her political authority. This echoes our real-life history of slavery and other forms of oppression that are represented within our own society.

Another idea that is important to note is the relationship between T'Gatoi and Gan's family. It has been stated that T'Gatoi has been friends with Gan's mother since their youth, meaning that T'Gatoi has been well acquainted with the family for many years. Also, T'Gatoi has stated that she views Gan's family—essentially the human race overall—as more than just breeding stock. She views the relationship as the joining of her family to theirs. In summation, these concepts reflect the bonds between individuals that are essential parts of human nature and the human experience overall.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "Bloodchild" Butler asks, “Who knows what we humans have that others might be willing to take in trade for a livable space on a world not our own?” In the story she explores one such possibility, according to which a human society agrees to join into familial relations with an alien species and to offer some of their own members to carry alien eggs.

Gan, is a Terran — a human — living on an alien planet among its powerful insect-like hosts, the Tlic, some time in the future. T’Gatoi is powerful but is also both nurturing and dependent. She chooses Gan as her future mate when he is just a baby.  She does show the human characteristics of nurturing and compassion, but she also considers the Terrans to be the property of the Tlic.  In fact the ownership of Terrans has become a status symbol for many of the Tlic.  Somewhat like slavery in our early US History, some Tlic were kind and loving to their Terrans and some were not.  T'Gatoi made sure that her humans were well taken care of and enjoyed sleeping with them.  She states,"I like your body warmth next to me."

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team