Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Final Project Proposal

Irene Magodn
Seminar in Composition
Dr. Adam Johns
November 19, 2014
Final Project Proposal
Butler, Octavia E. Lilith's Brood. New York: Warner, 2000. Print.
My argument centers around Octavia Butler’s “Lilith’s Brood” and Lilith’s actions and their relation to her study of Anthropology.
Hefner, Robert W. Conversion to Christianity: Historical and Anthropological Perspectives on a Great Transformation. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.
This text addresses the immense conversion to Christianity and the change of other beliefs from an anthropological view.
Robbins, Richard H. Cultural Anthropology: A Problem-Based Approach. Wadsworth: Cengage Learning, 2013. Print.
This Cultural Anthropology textbook highlights the approaches anthropologists take to exam and learn from different cultures. I believe this text can link Lilith’s actions with the Oankali to her Anthropology background.
León Portilla, Miguel. Bernardino De Sahagun, First Anthropologist. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2002. Print.
This is a biography of an anthropologist/monk who went to Mexico with the intention of changing traditions and customs but instead, he started working to preserve them. This can provide further linkage into Lilith’s actions.

Lilith does not act the way she does, or adapt to the Oankali way of life so easily for no reason. Lilith’s original reaction to the Oankali and her actions and understanding of them in the following chapters of “Lilith’s Brood” is in direct relation to her background in Anthropology. The ideology she possesses from this background indirectly made her favorable to the Oankali for their mission.

Lilith’s adaptation to the Oankali has nothing to do with her studies, instead it is simply her eager attempt to stay “Awake.” Since she realizes that she cannot fight them and herefore she would rather them be her friends rather than her enemies. She adopts the idea of “learn and run” meaning she will use them for their knowledge and once on Earth, escape from their presence. Lilith also does not have much field experience in Anthropolgy since the “humanicide” occurred while she was on one of her first field operations.

            In “Lilith’s Brood,” Lilith’s actions and responses to the Oankali are directly related to her background in cultural anthropology. Her adaptation exemplifies the idea addressed by anthropologists that practice can lead to belief. It is through this idea that anthropologists explain the number of anthropological researchers that convert to the beliefs of their subjects. Anthropologists like Lilith are more open to understanding other cultures and lifestyles and often submerge themselves in these cultures to understand them. While immersing herself in the ways of the Oankali was probably more for the sake of staying Awake and going back to Earth than it was to learn their culture, Lilith slowly transitioned into their lifestyle and even defended them once the other, more hostile and judging, humans were Awakened.
The first signs of Lilith’s anthropological ties came to be noticed by her reactions to the Oankali upon her several Awakenings. She was not hostile. Lilith simply kept quiet or questioned her captures to learn more about them. When Kahguyaht presented himself to her she was revolted, but she touched him faster than they had expected she would. By this reaction and openness to understand the Oankali, she was selected for the mission of the Oankali to put humans back on Earth with Lilith as their leader and teacher.
-Anthropological processes and means of work (textbook definitions)
-Leon’s explanation of the “first anthropologist” and his adaptation to his subjects’ culture
-Hefner’s take on the mass conversion to Christianity

            - Link to Lilith’s conversion to almost “new world” ways presented by Oankali


  1. I don't really have anything to add to what I already said. I think it's an excellent and interesting approach, but that you aren't 100% finished with moving from an *approach* to an *argument*. What impact does it have on your/our reading to understand Lilith (or maybe the Oankali, who are also anthropologists) in this way? It's a great idea, but it's emphatically a starting point.

  2. In case I didn't make it clear enough before, the conversion idea is especially promising - but you'll need to read the 2nd & 3rd novels to really make that claim. Jodahs in the 3rd novel is quite explicitly engaged in converting "resisters" who hold out against joining with the Oankali.


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