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Mike Johnstone

Butler, “Bloodchild” Reading Notes - examination of the dynamics between oppressor and oppressed - metaphor of parasitism - Butler called this a “love story” - “last night of childhood”—this experience will be a changing one for the narrator - the eggs make people feel good - described as “harmless” at first - prolong life and vigor - mother refuses the egg - T’Gatoi is the most important of her kind to the Terrans - mother says that it was an honor to have her in the family; but is lying - narrator does see it as an honor - T’Gatoi feels at home with them, but does the family feel that way about her? - T’Gatoi has an intimate relationship with the narrator - the T’Lic want more Terrans available, and so there is a Preserve to keep the Terrans safe - the Terrans are necessities (in the narrator’s eye) - the narrator sees this way of life as better compared to earlier ways; as more humane - this is shocking to readers, who see this as slavery - the mother used to be close to T’Gatoi, but now seems more cynical - the mother doesn’t want T’Gatoi to have her son - narrator very close with his sister - T’Gatoi grew up with the mother, and introduced the mother to the father; the mother later promised one of her children to T’Gatoi - the narrator has grown up with T’Gatoi and has been hers since birth - the narrator is “brainwashed” into this way of life; though many other Terrans don’t accept it - in the beginning the humans were treated as animals, put in cages - narrator’s name is Gan - brother’s name is Qui; he distrusts the Tlic - N’Tlic (man without his Tlic and about to “give birth”) is found alone, brought into their house - mother’s name is Hoa - first change: he has to kill for the first time - Gan spent all of his time with T’Gatoi while his siblings learned the family business - he has to kill an animal to help save Lomas - firearms are illegal in the Preserve, for the Terrans’safety - originally Terrans fought back - this stopped when Tlic began to “join families” and make the relationship mutually exclusive - T’Gatoi made sure that Gan knew the truth when he was young, but knowing doesn’t prepare him for experiencing the “birth” - Gan panics, does not want to help - another first: first time witnessing what really happens when someone “gives birth” to Tlic - Lomas wants desperately to be with his Tlic during the birth (strong connection between N’Tlic and Tlic?) - T’Gatoi cuts him open to remove the babies - Terrans are used as hosts for parasites that would eat them alive if the Tlic didn’t intervene - there is a grace period between when the host becomes aware of the parasites being born (becomes sick) and when they begin to feed - T’Gatoi cares more for the parasite than for Lomas - the male Tlic don’t live very long and spend all of their time breeding - Gan had always been told that what happens between Terrans and Tlic is good and necessary, and he used to believe it—until now - this was worse than childbirth - does T’Gatoi like the taste of blood even now? Gan wonders - “the whole procedure was wrong, alien” - he never thought of her as an alien - but he knows that this isn’t the way the world should be - Terrans forbidden vehicles - Tlic born from Terran bodies are always stronger - the Tlic who comes to his house is worried about Lomas - Qui is disgusted with the process and what Gan has to do - Qui rebelled and ran away when he became old enough to understand - Qui looks out for Gan because he know that if Gan is safe, Qui doesn’t have to go to the Tlic - Qui says he would hate the Tlic for doing it to him; Gan disagrees but isn’t sure of himself - Qui saw a Tlic kill a man rather than let the parasites die - “running inside the preserve. running inside a cage” - the Tlic usually don’t take women, but sometimes do - they prefer women - usually take men so that women can bear their own young - Gan tries to defend the Tlic but keeps questioning himself - Gan hates Qui for confronting him with the truth - Gan’s father gave birth three times - not all Tlic are able to breed; there is only one fertile female in each litter - Gan realizes that no one ever asked him if he wanted to do it - T’Gatoi tries to convince Gan that what they do is good and kind; that they aren’t animals to the Tlic - she says that being N’Tlic is a better fate than being killed on Earth - she tries to make him think that they did things for them that they didn’t need to do - Gan isn’t sure if he would rather die than bear her young - When T’Gatoi threatens to go to Xuan Hoa, Gan says that he will do it - XH would be happy to but Gan doesn’t want that for her - Gan gains independence when he doesn’t let T’Gatoi take the g
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