Masters Thesis

Human contradictions and biological determinism: materialism, dualism, and loneliness in Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis series

Octavia Butler’s award-winning science fiction provides critics with a myriad of topics for discussion. All of her works challenge racial, cultural, gender, and biological boundaries. Butler explores biological determinism and human behavior throughout her oeuvre; however, her Xenogenesis trilogy, also known as Lilith’s Brood, directly questions human nature and its connection to the mind and the body. This paper addresses Butler’s representation of loneliness in the trilogy and its relationship to dualism. Based on Ben Lazare Mijukovic’s theory of the a priori nature of loneliness as a byproduct of the mind-body split, this paper argues Butler juxtaposes materialism and dualism in order to explore human faults and loneliness, as well as present her hopeful vision for the future.