“Running in A Cage”

While reading our second section of Bloodchild by Octavia Butler, I came across a phrase that struck me. Gan and Qui were discussing the event that changed Qui’s perspective on Tlic. I am still unsure as to what the Tlic’s role is with the grubs and Terrans, but I get the idea that the Tlic’s choose a Terran as a host for the grubs, which may be part of the process of Tlic birth. Page 18 reveals that one of Terran’s roles in the partnership with Tlics is to create them in their bodies (that is a weird way to put it but that’s the most accurate way I can with the information so far). Anyway, Qui was telling Gan about a past incident he witnessed where the grubs ate a man (page 21). This scarred Qui, and is what lead to him attempting to run away so many times, as Gan pointed out. Qui responds by saying “Yeah. Stupid. Running in the Preserve. Running in a cage.”(page 21). 

This phrase, running in a cage, provoked a lot of thought. It is an adequate way to portray the characters helplessness; he felt desperate to escape, but there was no where to escape to. Although this book is fictional, the metaphor of “running in a cage” is a real thing felt by many. I have witnessed so many of my friends and family feeling helpless, and it is something I have personally experienced. Junior year of high school was my personal cage. As many juniors do, I felt the pressure of college applications and building a resume for myself.  In order to work on that goal, I had to start making money so I could pay for college. On top of all that, I was committed to working out everyday, and had to stay on top of my chores. My (almost) daily schedule was this: wake up at 4:30 am to go to the gym, go straight to school (eat breakfast on the way), go to school until 2:15, get home around 3, do homework, chores and eat dinner, work 5pm-9pm, do whatever I had left as far as homework, go to bed around 11pm and start it all over in about 5 hours. As you can imagine, it was exhausting. I eventually lost sight of my end goal because I got so lost in my schedule; my cage. I felt trapped by the fact that I would make it through the whole schedule only to have to start the dreaded thing all over. As a side note, despite wearing myself out, I am grateful for my experience. I learned a lot about time management and taking care of myself.

When Qui referred to “running a cage” he probably meant it more literally than I interpreted it. However, it is still a very relevant concept, one I am sure many have experienced. Feeling restrained, literally or figuratively, can drive a person mad, and I am sure it played a role in Qui’s distaste for the Tlic.




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