Fledgling By Octavia Butler Analysis

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The novel Fledgling by Octavia Butler analyses race relations and eugenics in society. Through the use of another intelligent species Butler lets the reader experience what happens when humans are not at the top of the food chain. While making the reader question the controversy over the use of eugenics and genetic engineering, Butler uses the story as a parallel of race relations in America. In society today, there is a debate over eugenics, whether humans should be looking into genetic engineering. Fledgling takes a positive stance towards eugenics. Butler uses Shori, the product of genetic engineering, as an example of two species coming together and being more powerful than the two original species. The text itself challenges the notion…show more content…
humans and race relations in history and the present. This use of two different species where humans are not top dog allows the reader to see race relations through the eyes of downtrodden. The novel creates a feeling of sympathy for both the Ina and humans that are being targeted due to the mixing of Ina and human DNA. This sympathy can then be transferred to reality in that the Ina and human issue is just a metaphor for race relations in America. For example, both Ina and humans need each other to survive, this can be said for slavery in America. Plantation owners needed slaves to provide income while slaves were dependent on the plantation owners. The Silk family would be the prime example for this analogy because while needing humans, the Silks detested humans and thought Ina superior to humans. Hence, the Silk’s rage towards Shori and the idea of contaminating Ina DNA with that of humans. The author is using genetic engineering as a parallel of inter-racial breeding. So when thought of eugenics that way, it does not seem so terrible. While the author does use parallels so that the reader can relate to the text, the author also estranges the reader from the idea of humans being the superior species. Through this estrangement the reader can see that the medical ethics in play, when referring to eugenics and genetic engineering, are in jeopardy as many people believe. The notion of humans not being the top species forces the reader to take a mental step back and rethink the reluctance to explore the possibilities of the human
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