Mutinous Colonialism: Navigating Self-Other Dichotomy in Octavia Butler’s Survivor

Thamer Amer JubouriAl_Ogaili, Ruzbeh Babaee


This article examines the self-other relationship in Octavia Butler’s novel Survivor (1978). This relationship incarnates the colonial powers brought about the missionaries in their early advent in the fictional place known as “Earth”. This place is the foundational setting where the main events take place. The study focuses on the representation of this setting in terms of colonial affiliation. The missionaries are encountered by the natives known as “Kohn” who resist their discrimination practices. Alanna, the protagonist, will be the main focus of the study. She represents the severe dichotomy between the colonial invasion and the proper human attributes. She is a native of Kohn, but she is adopted by the missionaries’ leader. Such adoption is highlighted by the use of two main concepts. The first of these is Edward Said’s concept of self-other relationship. The second concept is Homi Bhabah’s ambivalence.  These concepts unravel the suppressed voices in Survivor. They will be analyzed within the colonial infringement in the novel’s narrative structure.

Keywords: Ambivalence, Postcolonialism, Racial Segregation, Self-Other Relationship 

Full Text:



Anderson, C. S. (2006). "the Girl Isn't White": New Racial Dimensions in Octavia Butler's Survivor. Extrapolation (pre-2012) 47(1).

Bhabha, H. K. (1994). The Location of Culture. London: Routledge.

Butler, O. E. (1978). Survivor. Garden City, N.Y: Doubleday.

Chew, Sh. and David R. (2010). A Concise Companion to Postcolonial Literature. Oxford: Blackwell.

Chrisman, L. (2003). Postcolonial Contraventions: Cultural Readings of Race, Imperialism, and Transnationalism. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Gandhi, L. (1998). Postcolonial Theory: A Critical Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Ganguly, K. (2001). States of Exception: Everyday Life and Postcolonial Identity. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Ivison, D. (2002). Postcolonial Liberalism. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Maver, I. (2009). Diasporic Subjectivity and Cultural Brokering in Contemporary Post-Colonial Literatures. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Mbembe, A. (2001).On the Postcolony. Berkeley: University of California Press

Poddar, P., Rajeev S. P., and Lars J. (1979). A Historical Companion to Postcolonial Literatures: Continental Europe and Its Empires. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008. Print.

Said, E. W. (---). Orientalism. New York: Vintage Books.

Thelma, Sh. R. (2006). Defining Kindred: Octavia Butler's Postcolonial Perspective. Obsidian, III( 6/7.2).

Troy, M. H. (2010). Negotiating Genre And Captivity: Octavia Butler's Survivor. Callaloo, 33(4).


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2010-2022 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

Advances in Language and Literary Studies

You may require to add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.