Easiest to Manipulate Lilith

Lilith to me came off as an over-trusting, somewhat weak character actually. Though she was strong enough to resist talking to the Oankali initially, after her second awakening she gave up her silence and began answering their questions. Once Jdahya appeared in her room, she took everything he said for face value. She immediately trusted everything he was telling her, even the story about her scar. I understand that his story was believable because there was such a long history of cancer in her family but still, how could she not question what else they did to her?

And in fact, as the novel progressed we learn that they had altered her genes in order to make her more immune to other diseases and that the alterations also allowed for her to now be the right person to help awaken the other humans and bring them to turns with what is happening. The Oankali were never straight forward with Lilith, they strung her along, didn’t tell her anything about what they were doing to her and then “fed” her information piece by piece; they would only reveal what they thought was necessary and at their own convenience. I don’t feel like this is an honest way to deal with anyone, it’s not fair to Lilith to force her into cooperation with promises of more information and better food. That isn’t something a friend would do, it sounds more like what kidnappers do to their captors when they want something out of them.

For those reasons I kind of get the feeling that perhaps the reason they chose Lilith to be the person to awaken and help acclimatize the people from earth was not because she was a “strong” person like the Oankali was telling her, but because she was so easily manipulated into believing what they said. She trusted them completely, Jdahya gave her special “treats”; things she hadn’t had in over 250 years. No wonder she took things so easily, if I had pretty much been eating “cardboard” for the last two and half decades, I would go along with my captors too if they were offering me delicious bananas or oranges.

In addition, she hadn’t been out of her “cell” in 250 years either. Jdahya tells her that if she continues behaving, he will allow her to go outside and that “Once you’re able to leave this room with me, I’ll answer your questions,” (26). At this point what other choice does Lilith have but to go along with her captors? She can either be put back to sleep and possibly left for another couple hundred years or just be good and learn to live with what they look like and finally be able to go outside. She probably has such a bad case of cabin fever, she would do ANYTHING to get a look outside again. She was told the Oankali have the gift of perception, that leads me to think they are very good at manipulation also because that allows them to gage a person and decide how to properly handle them. Lilith was an easy target for them because she just believed what they were saying and didn’t try to attack Jdahya so they used that to their advantage and made Lilith the “ambassador” of helping humans come back and understand what is happening.

 

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