Extrapolation

The Captivity Narrative in Octavia E. Butler's Adulthood Rites

Extrapolation (2012), 53, (1), 45–59.

Abstract

Octavia E. Butler's novel Adulthood Rites incorporates an enduring genre of American literature, the captivity narrative. By drawing on the familiar tale of a civilized protagonist held captive by brutal savages, Butler echoes traditional themes of spiritual growth and identity formation. Manipulating the trope of "going native" allows her to hold several opposed values in tension: oppression and protection, appreciation for a native culture and betrayal of it, difference and identification. A hybrid creature, Akin must bridge a variety of opposites as he matures, a theme Butler reinforces by making a hybrid structure of the captivity narrative itself.

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Magedanz, Stacy