Feminism In Octavia Butler's Speech Sounds

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Octavia Butler is an Afrofuturist, science fiction author who writes many dystopian stories that allude to questions about gender, social structures, and an individual’s ability to control her body and sexuality. When people think of speculative and science fiction they tend to think of nerdy white men writing stories about space and light sabers, but Octavia Butler challenges this stereotype herself by being one of the few African American women in this genre. In Octavia Butler’s speculative fiction short story “Speech Sounds” there is a reversal of gender roles and a strong idea of feminism that is portrayed through the main character Rye. There is also the use of simile and metaphor to help point out flaws in the social structure of the story and the world of the reader.
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However, Butler gives Rye the ability to speak which makes her a strong, independent character in this story that represents the idea of feminism. As seen in any society, the ability to have a voice gives people power. The people with the most power are the ones that have a voice in things. As seen in America, white men were the ones with the voices in the history of this country and for about two hundred years African Americans and women were not given the option. They were forced to be silent by the white men so that the white men could keep their power. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines feminism as “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” Rye is undoubtedly a character who challenges the perceptions of women in society. This lack of language gives power to those that still have it but also makes it a very dangerous place for those with the ability to speak because many people in the community feel jealousy when they learn of the abilities that others still possess. Rye very much dislikes the current situation and the narrator reveals that her husband and children had died from this illness. When Rye is offered sex from Obsidian she
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