Essay about Amnesty, By Octavia Butler

Essay about Amnesty, By Octavia Butler

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When humanity is faced with a great challenge, inevitably they always find a way to thrive. It seems that no matter what happens, no matter how bleak a situation becomes, there is always someone who is willing to fight back. This mentality has been all but lost in humanity in the short story “Amnesty” by Octavia Butler. Throughout the story we continually find out more information about the ways that humans as a whole have been changed by the arrival of an alien species known simply as Communities. Through the analysis of this short story I will delve into why the main character is an exception in this story by examining the position of power she has taken and how she is using this position of power. While Noah seems to be a victim of her circumstances throughout her life, she actually works her way, through linguistic knowledge, personal strength, and a commitment to the good of all, into a position of power over all of the other characters in the story and uses that power in a selfless way rather than abusing that power for personal gain.
Through the repetition of questioning Noah’s motivations to work with the Communities, her power over the Communities is established. Noah was subjected to a great many horrors in her early life being a captive. This makes the decision to leave when given the chance understandable. A choice that is more revealing however is when she decided to return to the bubble. “I was not the first to leave the Mohave bubble, but I was the first to come back to offer to work for the Communities” (Butler 168). Noah, who has spent time with both the humans and the alien Communities, has drawn the conclusion that both groups would be better if they learn to communicate and work together, she sees this as the ...


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...ic backgrounds, such as James Adio who Noah notes, “was the oldest of seven children, and the only one who had reached adulthood so far. He needed a job to help his younger brothers and sisters survive” (Butler 160). She counters this by explaining to them how well off she is financially, “I’m wealthy myself. I’m putting half a dozen nieces and nephews through college. My relatives eat three meals a day and live in comfortable housing” (168). These stories show that even in a dystopian world such as this, there is hope to move up and have a better life, no one must be condemned to fail from the start. Noah could have used the bleakness of their situations to put humans down and strike back against them for the horrible treatment that she experienced at their hands, but instead takes puts aside a personal vendetta to better try and better the futures of these people.

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