The major theme of this course was based on risks and rewards, and a quote from one of the readings that really represents what this course is all about. “”If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner.” This quote originates from the story “Bloodchild” by Octavia Butler. The context behind this quote is that the two different creatures, T’Gatoi and Gan, live in harmony with each one benefitting the other. At any moment, anything could happen and something bad could happen between the two or to one of them, and by accepting the rewards of a partnership like this they must also accept the risk.
This quote definitely has influenced many of the discussions in the course, because it is so common to see partnerships, no matter how subtle they are. For example, partnership can even be something like a student code of conduct. In a way, you are partnering with the administration. Another way that partnership works in the case of Geneseo, you pay tuition and get housing and the school offers you services and education in return. The thing about the rules/codes/laws is that they’re always changing to accommodate any changes. One important thing about one being having control over another is that the people under control should have a voice to say when a rule needs to be changed. This is part of the partnership, acknowledging when your other partner is wrong or, is vital to keeping it healthy and working.
When going through this course, a loose instruction/guidance was more of the style. We would post something on a forum and it would be interpreted by the other students or Beth. The students are trusted to be honest with one another and truthful to themselves about how much they have really grown from taking this course. One thing that I really liked in this course that I just realized was that the different discussions are grouped together in 4 groups. The first part was “Foundations in Good Faith”. A lot of this part was to try and get us to understand ourselves as writers and readers, and had us read the short story “Bloodchild” in which the course epigraph comes from. I think this first part and the goal setting essay was vital to the rest of the parts to follow. The second part was labeled “Implicit BIas” and this one led us to explore what bias we had set in our brains, and how we could overcome these to become neutral. We kept this concept in mind while looking back at “Bloodchild”. The third part was labeled “Rules for Partnership”, and this was one of the most important parts just because of the name of the course and the course epigraph. There are certain rules, risks, and rewards (the three R’s if you will) that come with the concept of partnership. Lastly, we ended with Harm, Repair, Care. These are the four sections that I will have separated my argument into, by explaining how each one contributes to the throughline which is just how partnerships can generate both risks and rewards.
One of the most important pieces of a partnership is the foundations on which it was built upon. The two main characters in the story “Bloodchild” were Gan, a Terran, and T’Gatoi a Tlic. In this realm, the Tlic basically have control over the Terran and use them as breeding machines in which they implant their into. T’Gatoi has been with Gan’s family for as long as he can remember, and it was his house that “she considered her second home”. Gan’s family meant a lot to T’Gatoi, but not just because she had known them for so long, but because her next offspring were to be born from one of the children, either Gan, his sister or his very reluctant brother. To keep the Terran healthy, they were fed sterile eggs which increased their life span, so they could keep producing offspring. Many Tlic saw Terran as just things, but T’Gatoi really appreciated this group of Terran, especially Gan and his mother. But, despite this deep connection she still had to create offspring with basically an older child (which is the normal age but I still find a bit weird), since it was vital to her kind’s survival. Such a deep foundation formed between T’Gatoi and Gan made the mating a little more difficult because there were so many emotions involved.
When a partnership forms, there will never be 100% satisfaction with a counterpart. It’s very unlikely that there are no differences or disagreements between the two. Some of these may stem from biases that they had against each other before knowing the other one well. Towards the end of the story when Gan is about to get T’Gatoi’s egg inserted into him, there is some hesitation in him. This hesitation comes from seeing her having to take a Tlic’s eggs out of a Terran in his own home. Gan experienced many traumas during this period of events. He saw how bad the other Terran, Lomas, was hurting, he had to kill an animal, and then watched most of the process of T’Gatoi cutting Lomas open to retrieve the nearly ready egg. As he was watching her do this, he was most focused on Lomas because if he chose to be the recipient of T’Gatoi’s eggs this would have to happen to him as well. Gan watched as “his body convulsed with the first cut” and watched the whole process as this happened several more times. He then got queasy and threw up outside. So, if something like this happened to me while going through the decision making process of whether or not to have it implanted, it would definitely be one of the deciding factors. For Gan, it proved to be an internal battle, but he eventually decided that he would cast away any doubt he had about it because he knew that T’Gatoi would take care of him as she always had before.
One of the most important things that impacted this story was the nature of the partnerships between the Terran and Tlic. The rules of the partnership were basically that the Tlic held the power over the other party. T’Gatoi was actually the “government official in charge of the Preserve”, so she had quite a high status. This didn’t change anything between her and her second family though, since she had been a part of it for so long. In return for protecting and providing for the Terran, the Tlic got to use them for receptacles of their eggs. Partnerships come with risks as well, and for the Terran one of them was death from the removal process of these eggs. It was a risk they were willing to take to ensure their protection in the Tlic society, in the Preserve. There are also rewards, as Gan and his family enjoy the sterilized eggs which inhibit a longer, healthier life. The risks for the Tlic were that at any moment the Terran could rebel against their control. This could either end up with no more Terran or just unfaithful Terran that won’t comply. A whole different society. For this reason, “firearms were illegal in the Preserve”. The rewards of this partnership to the Tlic is that they can make a good life for their offspring and they have a good way to birth them.
Lastly, the Harm, Repair, Care part can be shown in T’Gatoi’s relationship with Gan. He was scared of the harm that he could endure by birthing an offspring of a Tlic. Eventually, this was repaired as she said to Gan that she would “take care of [him]” as he went through this whole process. Of course she should, but I’m sure there are some Tlic that don’t care as much about their Terran as T’Gatoi does Gan. She would ensure that he was safe because she cared for him greatly and wanted him to be a part of her life. He felt the same way about her and really put trust in her. Sure, his trust had wavered for a short time, but he found it in his heart that she really would do her best.