Monday, April 2, 2012

Final Project Proposal

Butler, Octavia E. Lilith's Brood. New York: Aspect/Warner, 2000. Print.

"Jinn." Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. London: Chambers Harrap, 2009. Credo Reference. Web. 26 March 2012

This site gives a lot of background of the Jinn and how humans are said to have treated them within their existence. It also is a valuable source of information relating it to a broader form of mythology within the Arab context.

            “Jinn – Crystalinks.” Crystalinks Home Page. Web. 27 Mar. 2012. <>.

This citation describes the presence of the Qur’an in relation to human/jinn similarities. This helps with the comparison of what Jodahs means to humans and the Oankali both because of these faith based ideas.

            “Judas Iscariot” CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA:. Web. 01. Apr. 2012.

If Judahs is a character representing faith, then it is necessary to divuldge the meaning of his namesake, Judas Iscariot, within its biblical context.

            “Mattaqun OnLine – Jinn: According to Quran and Sunnah.” Islam, Mattaqun OnLine Home. Web. 01 Apr. 2012. <>.

Here I found a large number of references within specific parts of the Qur’an that show the Jinn folklore, which I believe will help with furthering my exploration into the idea of a faith based dimension of Jodahs’ presence.

            “Yavari, Neguin. “Jinn.” Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender. Ed. Fedwa MaltiDouglas. Vol. 3. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007. 809-811. Web.

This focuses on the sexual relations and gender interpretations of the Jinn. Also, there is a quote presenting the difference between humans and Jinn and their use of representative mediums and how that relates to the similarities (and differences) between humans and Jinn.

2. Jodahs’  is a highly faith-based character which is a reflection of the evolution of constructs into a human state, and furthermore the failure of correcting the “human condition”.

            2a. By discussing the similarities between Jodahs and the Jinn folklore, we can discuss the connections that makes with the Qur’an and it’s view of the Jinn. After seeing the connections here, I then would like to connect the faith argument with the links of Jodahs’ name to Judas Iscariot within the Biblical context and what that means of him as a human born ooloi construct and as the correction of the “human condition”.

            2b. The benefit of considering this argument is the context of Jodahs’ character and a better understanding of the ending of the novel. By seeing Jodahs as a figure of faith we see him in a much more human light because the ooloi have no use for faith. Also, by connecting Jodahs to Judas it brings the novel full circle to Lilith who was the novel’s initial “Judas”. It also influences the view point of the idea that Judahs is the intended solution to the “human contradiction” as a whole.

3. Because Butler is so influenced by Herman Melville, it is hard to overlook the similarities of their naming processes. “Call me Ishmael.”(Melville, 1): one of the most famous lines within literary work. This too is an influential name within Biblical terms. Because Ishmael’s name is significant within the terms of Moby Dick and Butler is so influenced by Melville, the names and Biblical implications of such within Lilith’s Brood must also be of significance.

4. While revising my earlier essay I am going to remove some of the discussion of the Roman material of the Jinn folklore and focus more on the Arabic folklore. The Arabic folklore has the connection with the Qur’an where the Roman folklore is extraneous and doesn’t further the religious argument. I also plan on cutting down on some of the discussion of the similarities between Jinn and Jodahs (such as the discussion of sexual relations) in order to focus more on the implications of his name and what the religious aspects of his character does for the overall understanding of his part in the novel. The paragraphs involving the aesthetic evolution of the construct children will stay because it is helpful in the discussion as Jodahs as a final evolution into a human character and why that connects him to his failure as a solution to the “human contradiction”. While the sections on sexual relationships are interesting and humorous they simply need to serve the purpose of showing the relationship between the Jinn and Jodahs to prove its relevance to the conversation.  


  1. Hi, Katelyn!

    I really love this idea. As you say, exploring the faith allusions and religious undertones of Butler, and especially Jodhas itself, provide a better understanding of, or at least a more intricate and informed way to interpret the ending.

    Your sources seem solid and as long as you summarize the concepts of the folklore succinctly, the argument will be strong. My only concern for you is organization. My advice would be to make sure you focus and don’t go on too many tangents, although, one or two may benefit the paper. I’m not sure how often you outline your papers, but I’d suggest a fairly detailed outline for this one, just so that you can be sure you stay on focus and avoid unnecessary stress!

    Last of all: have fun. This topic seems really interesting and it will be cool to see what you can pull out of Butler in terms of religion.

  2. The core argument or agenda seems very interesting, and is rather different from anything you've attempted with this topic before. To frame Jodahs in terms of faith and religion, and thus in human vs. Oankali terms, is ambitious, interesting and unique. Good plan!

    Trying to think about the novels in relationship with Islam - and using the Jinn thing to approach it - is interesting, ambitious, and far from obvious. Here's one angle I think you should probably keep in mind: Lilith, whose origins we know much about (other than the cancer in her family) marries a Nigerian men, and gives her first son a Yoruba name. Nigeria, of course, is roughly split between Christianity and Islam, and in many ways is ground zero for conflict between the two religions. We could make too much of that, but the Nigerian references seem like something that could help you. Making your case isn't easy, but thinking through the right details could get you there - I'm pointing out to the ones which occur to me.

    Your research on Jinn (proposed at the top) seems a little thin. I'd suggest digging a little farther at the library. It's your project, not mine, but this book looked promising to me when I did an initial search:

    Islam, Arabs, and the intelligent world of the jinn (our library has a copy).

    Here's the results of a relevant subject searcH:

    I'm not saying that you need to get bogged down in excessive research, and yet just pinning down the role of Islam and jinn in the novel is demanding; more research might help.

    Anyway, I remain extremely interested. Your whole section 2 does a good job of explaining why this topic could be important. Pulling it off is the tricky part, but I think you have promising ideas.

    An aside: does Judas appear in the Qur'an at all? Jesus, after all, is reference a lot. That question might possibly be relevant.