This book was a book you could not just put down. I am still a little confused on story, but it was a nice read! I was a little on edge the whole time reading it, but I think that is what made it such a good read. I feel like this book addresses a lot of social issues, and generally can talk about how humans interact with one another. Lilith was going to study Anthropology before she got taken by the Oankali, so it was really meant to be. I think it for sure played with how race and gender play into civilizations we have now. First off, it was amazing seeing how a woman of color was at the forefront of the story. She was not defined just by identity, and that made it a stronger story. She was specifically chosen because the Oankali thought she would be the one to successfully awaken other humans and to allow them to assimilate to their new lives. When I was reading about the interactions between the Oankali and the humans I thought of immigrants. I am not sure if that was the intention, but the use of aliens implied to me the idea of being different. I think coming to another land, not knowing the language, being thrown into a new environment and expected to adapt are things immigrants and minorities have to deal with. The moments of Lilith feeling scared, angry, overwhelmed, and stressed are all things that are expected of the situation she was put in. Even though the language was such an obstacle in the story both the Oankali and humans were able to make it work.
It was interesting also how gender played into the story as well. Lilith questioned at one point how “sex determined personality among the Oankali, and then he realized that she did not know how much sex determined personality among human beings”. As people, we like to take things we know and try to fit it in the situations we are put in. Paul ended up assuming the sexes of the Oankali, and tried to make this world work for him. In this work, the sexes are male, female, and Ooloi. It was interesting to see how the lines are blurred when it comes to labeling and defining who everyone was throughout the book.
Lastly, a line in the book was really intriguing to me. When Nakanj was describing the Earth to Lilith it said that “a complex combination of genes that work together to make you intelligent, as well as hierarchical, will still handicap you whether you acknowledge it or not”. That was really thought-provoking because the things that would hypothetically make humans is something that inhibits us as well. The ideas that humans make to make society work is what can also be our demise. Yikes and true.