Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 697
Gan Gan, a young human male, is the protagonist of ‘‘Bloodchild.’’ The story centers on Gan’s growing knowledge and feelings of ambivalence regarding his special relationship with the insect-like extraterrestrial T’Gatoi, a member of the Tlic species. Gan and T’Gatoi live in a state of mutual dependence, according to which...
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Gan, a young human male, is the protagonist of ‘‘Bloodchild.’’ The story centers on Gan’s growing knowledge and feelings of ambivalence regarding his special relationship with the insect-like extraterrestrial T’Gatoi, a member of the Tlic species. Gan and T’Gatoi live in a state of mutual dependence, according to which humans are guests on the Tlic planet and subject to the their greater power, and the Tlic are in turn dependent on humans to propagate their species through incubating Tlic eggs in their bodies. Gan has been chosen by T’Gatoi for this special responsibility and has been raised by her with this duty in mind.
‘‘Bloodchild’’ is Gan’s coming of age story. The action takes place on the night of his ‘‘impregnation’’ by T’Gatoi, signaling his passage to adulthood, his acceptance of responsibility, and his sacri- fices for both his family and for T’Gatoi herself. On this night Gan witnesses an emergency ‘‘birth’’ procedure T’Gatoi performs on another Tlic’s human host. He experiences a crisis when he confronts the procedure’s violence and comprehends the implications of accepting an alien being into his body.
Lien is Gan’s mother. She too is ambivalent about Gan’s relationship to T’Gatoi. Lien has been close to T’Gatoi since her childhood and has accepted her into her family as part of a newer, less exploitative arrangement for the Tlic using human hosts for reproduction. Lien has taught her children to honor and respect T’Gatoi, but as the story opens she resists T’Gatoi’s offers of restorative Tlic egg and challenges her with the comment that Gan is still hers, saying, ‘‘Nothing can buy him from me.’’
Bram Lomas is a human on whom T’Gatoi performs an emergency ‘‘delivery’’ of Tlic grubs. Lomas’s Tlic, T’Khotgif, is too sick to participate in the birth, subjecting Lomas to extreme pain and danger. Gan witnesses the procedure and, as a result, sees T’Gatoi in a new light.
Qui is Gan’s older brother. He is a rebel against the system that requires humans to carry Tlic eggs. He had attempted to run away from the Preserve where humans live before he realized that it was impossible to escape from the Tlic’s dominance on their own planet. After Gan witnesses Lomas’s suffering, Qui tells him that he too has seen an emergency birth—one that ended with the human’s death. He maintains that humans are like animals to the Tlic and that T’Gatoi sees Gan as her property.
T’Gatoi is a Tlic who has had a close, ongoing relationship with Gan’s family for two generations. Gan’s father incubated T’Gatoi in his body and T’Gatoi later introduced him to Lien, who he married. She chose Gan at birth to live with her and to eventually carry her eggs. T’Gatoi believes in the system of familial relations between humans and Tlic. She appears unmoved when she must perform the violent procedure on Bram Lomas, which disgusts and frightens Gan, but she is emotionally invested in Gan and eventually regains his consent.
See T’Khotgif Teh
T’Khotgif Teh is a Tlic who has impregnated Bram Lomas with her eggs. She is old and ill so she is not there to protect Lomas with her sting during the painful removal of her grubs from his body. The fact that she asks after Lomas’s well being after learning of the successful delivery of her grubs suggests that she has an emotional investment in him as well as a biological one. After she has produced offspring her name changes to Ch’Khotgif.
Xuan Hoa is Gan’s older sister. In contrast to Qui, she feels warmly toward T’Gatoi and she would be honored to carry her eggs. When Gan momentarily refuses to be impregnated, T’Gatoi suggests that she will turn to Xuan Hoa for the duty. Gan cannot tolerate the idea of Xuan Hoa as a host so he agrees to carry the eggs after all.