Alien Indoctrination

In Octavia Butler’s short story Bloodchild, the analogy between humans and their livestock and the Tlic and the Terrans is a crucial part of the story. Although the parasitic Tlic are using the Terrans as hosts for their children, the Terran’s are generally content with living with the Tlic and even consider the Tlic as part of their family. Even though T’Gatoi asserts that the Terrans “aren’t animals to [them],” the relationship between the Tlic and the Terrans is far closer to farmer and livestock than it is to family, and is a lot deeper than the fact that the Terrans are forced to wear armbands for identification.

The Tlic seem to live as part of a Terran family and are seen as “friends” by many of the Terrans including Xuan Hoa, but they are clearly in control of the preserve. Instead of oppressing the Terrans through force and violence, the Tlic choose to keep the Terrans docile through feeding them their sterilized eggs, which have a powerful narcotic effect in addition to prolonging life. The Terrans’ forced complacency is very similar to how people raise their livestock. Over thousands of years, people have domesticated animals by breeding the most submissive animals in order to get the desired docility. The Tlic have also spent “long years” to pacify the Terrans.

The indoctrination is pervasive. The Tlic have hidden the danger of egg implantation from the Terrans, as Gan seems unaware of the horrors of the implantation. Over the long years, resistance has dwindled and it seems that the Terrans are willing to continue submitting to the Tlic.

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