Octavia Butler's Speech Sounds, By Octavia Butler

732 Words3 Pages
Speech Sounds

1) Summary A mysterious disease has swept across the nation and deprived many of their abilities of communication; speeches, literacy, as well as the lives of numerous people were lost. Rye, after the death of her family to the disease, was making a trip to Pasadena out of loneliness and desperation in search of her remaining relatives. While riding on the bus Rye encountered Obsidian, a man dressed in police uniform trying to restore peace in a society where miscommunication led to violence and government was obsolete. Rye felt an extreme jealousy towards Obsidian after finding out that he was capable of reading and writing. As the two returns to Rye’s home, they saw a man chasing after a woman, he proceeds to kill the
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All of the sudden, Rye was once again alone with three dead bodies, she understood some of the man’s urges of jealousy to kill everybody else, she discovers two young children who is capable of speaking and took them under her care.
Octavia Butler’s Speech sounds were inspired by a losing a close friend to a disease, and have to go through trouble on the bus she took to see her friend reflected on a society that has never grown up.
2) Analysis
First, the mood of the story is depressing and hopeless. Both the natural disease as well as mankind’s many actions shaped by “the silence” that helps form a society where humans are no longer regarded as intelligent species. The protagonist, Rye, after being deprived what she valued most, was in an psychological state of depression and loneliness. However, the will to live kept her from suicide and homicide. However, despite having a strong will to protect herself, jealousy and hatred had overtaken her, “No one
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To begin with, if today’s generation met such a horrific disease that we could not brace for, human civilizations will both physically turn from modern to prehistoric and psychologically decade eventually leading to death and extinction. Thus, “speech sounds” stresses the idea that no matter how developed the human species become, diseases such as the one in speech sounds will bring human developments from its peak all the way to nonexistent. As an example, losing literacy has transformed Rye from such an educated person to not even having a reason to live. However, after reading Butler’s after words, I have a different perspective. I could very well relate to Butler since I had almost the exact same experience this past summer. I was going to see my bedridden grandfather who was in his last moments while the Chinese society in public places was relatively rude in manner. Self ego drives the tension and conflicts between people. These conflicts were simply escalated in “speech sounds”, and can be seen as a more severe version of today’s

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