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Complex Relations of Humans and Aliens in Bloodchild by Octavia Butler

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In the story Bloodchild by Octavia Butler we see that when individuals sacrifice for others and accept sacrifices in return, they can create unions that once seemed impossible. Butler positions her characters in a society that restricts their choice, requiring them to depend on each other and to recognize the needs of others in their lives. Terrans who are considered the humans living in the preserve have to offer a member of their family to host a Tlic’s offspring. In exchange, the Tlics protect the Terrans. Although we see characters like Qui resisting any interaction with the Tlics, we still see how Butler establishes a relationship between two very different groups and what extent they will go to preserve a peaceful society.

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The Terrans and Tlics have a contract which benefits both races and Butler in multiple points throughout the story talks about the shared social responsibilities. Tlic, being centipede-like creatures needed a host for their eggs and priorly would use animals but noticed the Tlic young would not stay alive. This meant that Tlics were in danger of dying out of existence. Similarly, Terrans were forced to flee their homeland where other humans were killing them. After the Terrans arrived and T’Gatoi’s political group established the Preserve there was a sense of peace between the Tlics and the Terrans. The two communities agreed to share the responsibility of promoting the well being of each other. This meant Terrans hosting Tlic offspring for protection in the Preserve and also putting away their anger and resentment for each other for the peace of society.

Life in the Preserve means that an individual can thrive as long as they are willing to live under the interdependent system. This includes agreeing to the greater needs of society and accepting what they offer. An example of this is demonstrated by Gan and her family. We see that Gan and her sister Xuan Hoa both show their respect and acceptance of T’Gatoi. While Gan's emotions on the night of Bram Lomas ' birth tend to transform into hatred, through turning to his social responsibility and reaching past himself, Gan is finally able to see the meaning in Tlic-Terrans partnership. He begins to understand the mutual benefit and the fact that the relationship is not terrible.

Butler describes Gan’s father as the role model for Gan to live up to. He was able to bear three batches of Tlic eggs and also be the father to four Terran children making him very valuable and a prime example of someone who fully accepted the interdependent life. Gan’s father was able to bear all of this by accepting all of the eggs given to him by the Tlics which extended him life to twice the normal length. This explains that the key to success in the interdependent world is to sacrifice for the community and accept what’s given to you.

Butler has created a complex relationship between the Tlic and Terran. One that is both sweet but also terrifying. “Bloodchild” creates a reality where people are encouraged and praised to live life on its terms and accept that all lives are interconnected. Lastly, if individuals suffer for others and in exchange to accept sacrifices, they will be able to create a partnership that once looked impossible.  

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