All posts by umbrella94

Running in a Cage

Bloodchild traces Gan’s journey of finding out the harsh realities of the society in which he lives. In this society, terrans are forced to live under a Tlic’s control and ownership. Terrans are used as host animals for the Terrans to reproduce. For this process to work, Tlic eggs are implanted into a Terran until they grow into grubs and until the grubs destroy the host Terran until it cannot survive any longer while supporting the grubs. Once they had grown the right amount, a Tlic would cut open the Terran in order to receive its grubs. If any grubs were left in the Terran, it would kill the Terran by eating it from the inside. At best, the Terran would be sewn up, survive, and be forced to go through more implantations in the future. In order to get the most out of every Terran, Tlics encouraged their Terrans to take life-lengthening drugs. Eventually Gan unravels the social norms of his society and realizes that he should have autonomy over his own body. He still is implanted with T’Gatoi’s eggs though in order to save his younger sibling, Xuan Hoa.

Although Bloodchild is a science-fiction story, the premise of using humans as host animals is not far from reality in many parts of the modern world. The article, “In India, a rise in surrogate births for West” sheds light on increasingly common surrogacy programs in which western, wealthy women enter into surrogacy contracts with Indian women. These Indian women who chose this option actually don’t have much have a choice. They often struggle to provide for themselves and their families and have no other ways to make a decent income. Sometimes they are pushed to act as a surrogate by their husbands who want more income. Agents only concerned with their own profits lure women into contracts that they don’t fully comprehend. The character Gan in Bloodchild was similarly manipulated into thinking he chose to be a surrogate. In Gan’s case, he is tricked by T’Gatoi’s supposed friendship with him. In the Indian womens’ case, they are forced into the position of surrogate because of their impoverished state and do not realize they are being taken advantage of and being paid five to six times less than an American surrogate would commonly be paid. Both real and fictional stories show the horrors of being exploited for the purpose of reproduction.



Evil vs. Nurture

Even though Frankenstein lived a miserable, agonizing life after his decision to create another being, I could not help but be frustrated with his character. He created a new life, and then completely abandoned him simply because of his appearance. The creation was left to fend for itself and find its place in the world with no guidance or care from a single person. What Frankenstein did was quite similar to abandoning a child. Children who grow up in the foster care system are statistically more likely to commit crimes than those who were raised by their own parents. This is speculated to have a lot to do with rebellion after feelings of abandonment and isolation. The monster had a “desire to claim their protection and kindness” and “yearned to be known and loved”. After constant rejection and heartbreak, he gained feelings of “rage and revenge”.

The monster’s transformation got me thinking about whether nature or nurture leads people to crime. The article “Evil: Nature or Nurture” reports on a case study of a man who is in jail for two murders. A lot of the man’s commentary is viscous and cold, but his description of his childhood offers insight into why he is so cold-hearted. The man describes being lonely and misunderstood as a child, and continues to say, “Something just never felt quite right to me — this internal pain — and I always felt that no one else feels my pain. But I can give you a small taste of it … a small taste. If I hurt you … that pain you feel … can’t compare to mine. And I am not alone anymore.” The criminal’s explanation reminds me of Frankenstein’s monster’s build up of bitterness that evolved into an evil quest for vengeance. Frankenstein eventually came to the conclusion that he should have cared for the beast he created, revealing that “In a fit of enthusiastic madness I created a rational creature, and was bound towards him, to assure, as far as was in my power, his happiness and wellbeing.” All creators are bounded towards their creations and have a duty to nurture them. I believe people are born good. When they are abandoned and come to know pain as the overriding emotion in their lives, evil develops. Mary Shelley provides an underlying message of the importance that creatures are nurtured by their creators. Both in the situation of the criminal in the article and in Frankenstein’s case, evil developed as a response to exposure to tremendous pain and isolation.

“Evil: Nature or Nurture” can be found at

Lady Happy and the Ladies of TLC

It is refreshing and inspiring to read about a woman who knows her value and knows she does not need a man to be fulfilled. I absolutely loved reading “The Convent of Pleasure” and it reminded me of something else with a similar empowering message: TLC’s song “No Scrubs”.

The misogynistic topics of conversation from the men in the play are exactly what the women of TLC protest against through their song. The opening line of the song, “A scrub is a guy that thinks he’s fly and is also known as a buster, Always talkin’ about what he wants and just sits on his broke ass,” describes the men in “The Convent of Pleasure”. Men in the play such as Takepl are quite literally scrubs in modern definition. Takepl is on a quest in the play to marry Lady Happy, a female whose wealthy father has recently passed and who is left with riches. He does not attempt to court her out of affection or adoration. Rather, he views her as an object with accessories available to benefit. His objectification of her is visible when he asks if he “shall get the Lady Happy.” It is obvious that Takepl is out to take advantage of the Lady when he states, “Faith, Dick, if I had her wealth I should be Happy.” This scrub wants to obtain her and her money.

Lady Happy sees the value of being independent and not reliant on a man. She sees marriage as stepping into a trap where she gives up her identity and others in the play make comments about this norm as well. Dick comments that, “Because if she Marry your Worship she must change her Name; for the Wife takes the Name of her Husband, and quits her own.” This norm to lose a women’s identity once she commits to a man is too common. It is evident in seventieth century society by studying this play, and it remains common in modern times. The women of TLC defy this attitude through lyrics that show they won’t let any man objectify them or use them. Lady Happy chooses to surround herself with those that will not restrain her, which is what the females of TLC advocate doing in their song “No Scrubs”.

A Female Perspective of “The Flea”

Although “The Flea” was written in the early seventeenth century, I found the speaker’s proposal very common to modern society. In the poem, a man seeking intimacy attempts to convince a woman to sleep with him with the proposal that sex is not a big deal. He diminishes the significance of sex by comparing it to a fly that has sucked the blood of both him and the female subject. Therefor it is clear that he views sex as a mere activity in which himself and the female would mix bodily fluid, just as the fly does. Many modern men have this same attitude and many modern women are reticent to engage in noncommittal, casual sex just as the female subject of “The Flea” is. The article “Can women have ‘casual’ sex without a post-hookup hangover?” reveals a female perspective on a main topic of “The Flea”.

This perspective is concerned about the happiness and wellbeing of a female in the role of the courted. She advocates for women to regain greater control over their sexuality by making choices that would greater benefit them. She views beneficial sexual relationships as those that leave women in a positive emotional state. Since women’s hearts are deeply intertwined with women’s sexuality, she concludes that it is nearly impossible to engage in casual sex without developing emotional repercussions. The heart previously referred to is symbolic of the biological hormone oxytocin that is released during intimacy of all kinds. Humans interpret this hormone as a feeling of intense bonding. The author of the article provides a conflicting perspective than that of the poem’s author Donne. This contradiction reveals the tremendous impact gender has on one’s outlook.