Throughout American literary history, nearly every form of literature has covered the topic of slavery and black oppression in America. From William Lloyd Garrison’s abolitionist papers to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s controversial Uncle Tom’s Cabin to Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, the exploration of the black position in America has been a theme that engrossed generations. In the past century, as science fiction has established its place in the literary genre, authors such as Octavia Butler have become increasingly popular. In her short story "Bloodchild", Butler extends the discussion of oppression in America into the science fiction genre. In this manner her story, "…like almost all science fiction, though it seems to concern itself with human beings and worlds of the far distance and future, it also concerns itself with the here and now" (Asimov 110).
Within the first few passages of "Bloodchild", Butler establishes that the Tlic clan has oppressed the Terran clan in the past. Though this history of superiority and oppression exists between the two species, T’Gatoi, a Tlic, is still a friend of this Terran family. "Only she [T’Gatoi] and her political faction stood between us and the hordes who did not understand why there was a Preserve…or…did not care" (Butler 1036). Gan and his family are forced to live on a preserve, keeping the Tlic from entering in and enslaving his family further.
Already, one can see the similarity to the United States of America’s relations with the African-American people. Butler substitutes the race issue with a difference of species, creating an obvious physical incongruity between the oppressed and oppressors. This physical difference was often r...
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...d its treatment of those who differ physically from the majority of the population. Through science fiction, Butler has reached another section of the literary audience, and challenged them to open their minds and to change their world.
Butler, Olivia. "Bloodchild." The Prentice Hall Anthology of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Ed. Garyn G. Roberts. Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall Inc., 2001.1035-1049.
Asimov, Isaac. "Science Fiction and Society". Asimov on Science Fiction. American Medical Association. 103-111
Du Bois, W.E.B. The Souls of Black Fold. New York: Fawcett World Library, 1903.
Litwak, Leon. Trouble in Mind: Black Southerners in the Age of Jim Crow. New York: Knopf, 1998.
Rundblad, Georganne and Peter Kivisto. Multiculturalism in the United States. Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge Press, 2000.
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