Agency in Lilith’s Brood

We talked in class on Tuesday about the forces of agency in Lilith’s Brood.  Who has it?  At this point I’ve only read up until page 163, but I have found that the Oankali have all the agency.  For instance, Lilith can’t even open doors on her own until around page 150 or something.  She can’t even change location without asking up until that point.  The fact that she is constantly watched is also striking.  It gives a false sense to any freedom or minute act of agency she might appear to have.  One of the biggest scenes which portrays the Oankali’s power over Lilith is on page 43 when Jdahya tells her that she will produce offspring for them.  He basically tells Lilith that she has two options: go through with the plan or die.  Jdahya and the Oankali alike do not make these statements in brash fashion.  When Jdahya lays the life or death scenario down, he poses it as an offering to end Lilith’s suffering.  Lilith describes it by saying, “it was a gift he was offering.  Not a threat” (43).  Isn’t it a threat though?  Just because Jdahya was like “do it or die!” doesn’t mean he has offered any other option aside from complete compliance.  On page 154 there is an example of how used to this treatment Lilith has become.  She asks Nikanj to enhance Joseph and he says no.  To herself Lilith says “that was that, and she knew it” (154).  This line just goes to show that the Oankali may seem kind, but they really only leave the options they want.  Lilith is more or less forced by action or scenario to do what they want.

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