I’ll be honest here, I’m not entirely sure what the topic of my paper will be just yet. I have a few ideas but I need to do some more research and really flesh out those ideas before I decide. I was thinking about maybe the expression of individuality, and how that is treated in society. For example in Dawn, Lilith is surounded by what she thinks of as essentially gray blobs with tentacles, completely foreign but also (at least to her) exactly alike. There are multiple times in the novel where Lilith confuses one Oankali for another, even the ones she knows best. I think this is an important topic considering that the book was written around the time when there were so many people trying to break off from what they thought of as the common masses. I don’t know much about why this is yet (again, I need more research,) but I’m thinking it might have something to do with the sort of cookie-cutter-culture of the 50’s, and the start of differentiation in the 60’s and 70’s in American culture. But the thing is, whether your differences were socially acceptable or not is a totally different question. There was still the matter of racism and desegregation, as well as other stigmas against people deemed ‘too’ different, which led to isolation and feeling like an outcast, just like in Lilith’s scenario. It’s also interesting to see that (I believe it was Jdyah?) one of the Oankali said that when they first found the humans, they were just as repulsed as Lilith was by the Oankali. But by the start of the story, the Oankali seem to be used to the humans. What’s different? And do they really see the humans as equal to them? I don’t really think so, but I haven’t finished the book yet, so I guess I’ll find out.
Again, I need to read up on the historical stuff a bit as well as the book and I may change my topic altogether. It just depends on what I find.