Dawn and Hierarchies

I really have no clue what I’m going to write my final paper on yet, however, I think the presence of hierarchies in Dawn is really interesting. I usually do not know what my argument is going to be until after I have laid out all the specific things I find interesting that are surrounding my topic, so I’m obviously not to that stage yet. Nonetheless, I find it interesting that the Oankali see themselves as non-hierarchical yet there is an evident hierarchical structure and furthermore that it is nearly impossible for us to think of a society without hierarchies. I think hierarchies are most prevalent in the power of the Ooli, especially in a section where Lillith observed that no one would talk to Kahguyaht, which I took as Kahguyaht having a higher status. Hierarchies are also present in the Oankali’s relationship with humans. The thing I find most interesting in this is Lillith’s role in her family. Throughout the first half of the book I continually asked myself if Lillith was more like the families pet or kid because I found references that could ideally work for both. Then she was considered a parent and allowed a little more freedom, yet her status was still lower than the reset of the Oankali.


3 responses to “Dawn and Hierarchies

  1. This is essentially the same thing I am looking to discuss in my paper. I think some things to think about are if you want to compare it to historical hierarchies that Butler might be referencing or just keep it in the context of the book. Obviously you aren’t sure what you want to do yet but you could go into any one of the different hierarchies you listed in depth without going into all of them once you have your ideas thought out.


  2. I think even though your topic isn’t quite formed yet, the points you bring up can make for a good paper. You can focus on how in every society, human and or nonhuman, there is this tendency to gravitate towards hierarchies. We surely see it in our culture/society where everything is broken up into those who rule and those that are ruled. We can even see it in animals, there is always an alfa lion/wolf that leads his/her pack. The Oankali are no different because they are they ones that are running everything. I think it’s good that you are taking the topic of hierarchies and making it narrow in on just Lilith and her role. Focus on how only when the Oankali though she was ready, not even when she thought she was ready herself, did they make her take on different roles in their family.


  3. There’s a line in Dawn somewhere about how everyone seems to defer to the Ooloi that might support this argument, in addition to your observation about who talks to who.


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