The Relationship Between the Tlics and Terrans in “Bloodchild”

The Tlics and Terrans have an interesting and complex relationship in “Bloodchild.” One side of their relationship is based on power. The Tlics have control over the Terrans in the story. The Terrans can’t leave The Preserve and are also forced to bear the Tlic’s “children” (the shrubs) even though it can kill them. Even with supposedly “good” things, like the eggs, the Tlics control how much the Terrans get. Everything is monitored by the Tlics, so that the power dynamic seems clear: Tlics have power over Terrans.

At the same time, the Tlics seem to be making an effort to make the Terrans comfortable. It would be easy for the Tlics to force the Terrans into hostile conditions simply to bear their young. Instead, they provide the Terrans with things like eggs that make the Preserve more enjoyable for them. They also acclimate Tlic and Terran so that they are comfortable with each other. The Tlic even go as far as trying to make the Terran physically comfortable, by encasing them in their limbs.

These two sides of the Tlic and Terran relationship are extremely conflicting. I think it’s interesting to observe which characters believe each side of this relationship. For many it’s unclear. Does the mother refuse eggs because she believes the Tlics are cruel? Does Gan agree to bear the Tlic’s children because he feels a strong emotional relationship with her? A relationship the Tlic want him to feel? The overarching question for all of this is why the Tlics make so much effort to have connections with the Terrans, when it does not seem necessary? How much are the Tlic innately similar to the Terran and how much of how the Tlic act is a direct result of being in constant relations with the Terran?

2 thoughts on “The Relationship Between the Tlics and Terrans in “Bloodchild”

  1. This is a really interesting idea, however, I wonder if the reason that they treat the terrans this way is because that was what was initially necessary to maintain this parasitic relationship.

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  2. These are all really good thoughts. I feel like T’Gatoi in particular is so caring towards Gan’s family is because she truly loves them and doesn’t want to get hurt. Maybe the T’lics are really grateful for the Terrans so they try to make them as comfortable as possible.

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