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KCI등재 학술저널

On the Dreaded Parasite: A Fearful and Risky Symbiosis in Octavia E. Butler’s “Bloodchild”

Bringing in conversations about symbiosis and parasitism in posthumanism and the science of parasitology, this article illuminates how Octavia E. Butler’s “Bloodchild” (1984) reconfigures the parasite, commonly perceived in a purely negative way, as a being that engages a crucial mode of symbiosis. In “Bloodchild,” Butler uses the parasite both to challenge the humanist idea of the autonomous human with agency and to expand our understanding of symbiosis by retaining a dreaded feature of parasitism—the deep, risky physical contact that the parasite initiates with the host—in what she calls a story of symbiosis. Rather than holding on to a narrow understanding of symbiosis as an antonym of parasitism and a convenient sharing of mutual benefits between individuals, “Bloodchild” reimagines symbiosis to encompass parasitism as a mode of living together that radically broaches the distance between the self and the other. Butler’s story suggests honestly facing the fear and risks involved in symbiotic relationships as among the possible ways of navigating tough partnerships.

Ⅰ. Introduction

Ⅱ. The Fear of Parasitic Invasion

Ⅲ. Fleshly Contact and Metamorphosis

Ⅳ. Navigating the Fear and Acknowledging the Shared Risks

Ⅴ. Conclusion

Works Cited

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