Aliens and Evil?

While trying to get a visual of the Oankali, I found this.

It’s not an ‘official’ movie, just a film project. Anyway:

While trying to read for the most ‘alien’ aspect of Lilith’s environment, I split the definition of alien into two meanings: (1) unlike one’s own, strange, not belonging to one and (2) adverse, hostile, opposed. Based on Lilith’s initial responses to them, the Oankali/Ooloi seem to fit these classifications. 

Upon seeing Jdahya, Lilith relates his faceless, tentacle covered appearance to Medusa, the villain in Greek mythology that turns victims to stone. She also relates his hair to ‘snakes,’ which are biblically viewed as evil. In this scene, she sees this creature as not only strange-looking, but potentially dangerous. Like Medusa’s victims, who lose their lives, Lilith loses what little emotional agency she has in response to seeing Jdahya.

He has to command Lilith to look at him several times. Yet as much as Jdahya assures her that no part of his appearance will harm her, she has to force herself to look at him over and over again. She has to dig her nails into her hands, but even when she gets used to seeing Jdahya, she still falls into the same pattern of panic and revulsion. Is she afraid to look at him/others like him because the tentacles are phallic-like, suggesting some fear of sexual harassment? Is the appearance an archetype of evil?

Looking again the second meaning of alien, what the Oankali want to essentially do is cross breed with the human species. This ‘genetic engineering’ to create new organisms conflicts with what Lilith feels is right for the human race. Therefore, the Oankali’s desires and views are opposed to Lilith’s. The behavior of the ooloi is slightly hostile when it speaks to Lilith. During their first conversation, the narrator notes: “It was smug and treated her condenscendingly. It was also one of the creatures schedule to bring about the destruction of what was left of humanity” (48).

(While reading this, I couldn’t make sense of why she was afraid to look at them. Yet my mental image of Jdahya was of Cousin It, covered in snakes instead of hair. Therefore I had to look up the above video to get a better idea of their appearance, which didn’t really help.)


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