Lilith never slides into self pity. Due to war, her husband and son are dead. She finds herself under the control of strange slimy creatures likened to slugs. After a deep sleep, she wakes up. She acquiesces to their learning process. Her old way of life must be forgotten. If Lilith is obedient to the wishes of the aliens, she will become the first leader on the new earth. Leadership on this future earth will give Lilith the ability to teach and train other captured earthlings.
However, change is never easy. Lilith will become the enemy of her own kind. Every day a choice must be made. Should she succumb to the thoughts of the rebellious earthlings or remain on course believing there is a chance to make something close to the planet where she once lived with family. If she kowtows to the rebellious earthlings, she will never see a revitalized Planet earth. Her decisions are difficult. I really felt sorry for Lilith when she had to fight off an overly sexed earthling. Starved for sexual intimacy, He falls upon Lilith like a giant rig out of control. He injures her body and mind. Still, Lilith does not give up.
Lilith is a Hebrew name. In Jewish Folklore, Lilith is thought of as the first wife of Adam. Octavia Butler's Lilith is a symbol of the Jewish Lilith. Butler's Lilith is the first human to experience the new order on earth. Like Adam/Eve, she is the first to experience a type of the Garden of Eden. This new earth, like the Garden of Eden, is a forest. A forest that needs to be tamed for the growth of food and also, for the growth of future families.
Science Fiction is entertaining and also meaningful literature. Science Fiction gives the reader the chance to think outside of the box about a new normal. Like Poetry, it jerks the mind. I am looking forward to traveling into another Science Fiction novel. octaviabutler.org