Fledgling (Pages 83-149)

He made a sound– almost a moan. For a while,  he said nothing.

Finally I asked, “Do you want to leave me?”

“Why bother to ask me that? ” he demanded. “I can’t leave you. I can’t even really want to leave you.”

“Then what do you want?”

He sighed and shook his head. “I don’t know. I know I wish I had driven past you on the road eleven nights ago and not stopped.  And yet,  I know that if I could have you all to myself, I’d stop for you again, even knowing what I know about you.”

“That would kill you. Quickly.”

“I know.”

-Page 84

This conversation between Shori and Wright feels like a strong turning point in defining the relationship between the two characters. This takes place directly after Shori meets Iosif and the rest of her living Ina relatives and Wright learns what it means to be a symbiont.

In the beginning of the story, because Wright looks physically to be much older than Shori, it’s easy as a reader to feel uncomfortable with their relationship, despite the fact that Shori is truly older and a vampire. However, in this conversation we get a glimpse to just how much of the power in their relationship actually belongs to Shori. Wright feels almost frightened when he realizes the power that Shori has over him. Not only is Shori older and vastly more powerful than Wright, Wright is now bound to Shori to the point where he can’t make himself leave her or even survive without her. The idea of freedom, free will, and consent within their relationship becomes extremely complicated because of how much influence the Ina have over their symbionts.

This dynamic also emphasizes how different their relationship dynamic is from a typical vampire story. Often in vampire stories, the vampire character is male and much older, but looks about the same age as the human character. However in this situation, the female character is the vampire and looks dramatically younger than the male character. It takes the usual dynamic in a vampire story and gives it a notable twist, complicating it without simply just reversing the dynamic.

-Marjorie Eyong

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13 thoughts on “Fledgling (Pages 83-149)

  1. I thought that this passage was really important as well. I think it does a really good job of showing the reader the extent of the power that Shori has over Wright. From their first encounter the reader has an idea that there is some type of dependence, but we really don’t know how life or death it really is. I found it interesting that Wright says if he could go back he would stop on the road for here again even though he knows that she is an Ina and that he is linked to her. I think that he says this in part because of the attachment, but also because he really does care for her. It’s almost as if he can’t see his life without her.

    -Kaitlyn Klepper

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  2. I found this to be an important passage as well. It not only acknowledges the power Shori has over Wright, but further distances itself from typical vampire stories by showing that part of Wright wants to leave. In many vampire stories the human in the relationship wants to remain in the relationship, whether it is due to romantic reasons or even some kind of mind control/hypnotism the human typically wants to stay with the vampire. This passage demonstrates a new take on this trope by adding a chemical dependence on top of mind control.

    -Justin Wright

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  3. This definitely is not the typical vampire story this story is more complex and has many layers. This story embodies the struggle of the costs of temptation. Wright has to deal with wanting Shori but also accepting the fact that his ‘want’ for this vampire has its costs. In a sense Wright is putting his life on hold by now living this vampire lifestyle and adapting to not being a main priority with Shori and her other symbionants.
    -Nicole Crippen

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  4. This passage really stood out to me as I was reading.There are a lot of scenarios in this story that seem a bit odd becase this story is not like any typical Vampire story. For example the fact that Shori (the female character in the book) is the Vampire and looks younger than Wright (the human character in the book) is not what the reader wold expect; since the male character is usually the Vampire and looks way older. Also this passage shows how complex Shori and Wright’s relationship become because Wright is a symbiont and Shori has a lot of power over him. So it makes the reader question what will happen next and what does this mean for Shori and Wright.

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  5. Yes, it is true that the idea of free will and consent between Shori and Wright’s relationship has been more complicated. Wright “sounded angry” when he told her “… I didn’t know then that I was agreeing to be part of a harem. You left that part out” (83). In Shori’s defense, when she first bit him, she didn’t know about the symbiont thing either. It is quite true what you said about most vampire novels: the vampire is male and the older one. In Fledgeling’s case, the vampire is female and is older than the human but at the same time, looks much younger. That’s all I have to say.

    Jiapeng Zhao

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  6. This passage is really eye-opening to the audience as the reasons you and others have described. As to why Shori was chosen as the more dominant character in the novel is a question that is raised, but the author purposely did this for some reason. One can infer that she probably did to encourage that individuals should not judge a book by its cover, which is something that many people do in today’s society.

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  7. While reading I too found this passage to be very important. It caught my attention because it raised so many questions in my head. I caught myself trying to close read, without having to tell myself to close read. While doing this i was trying to decipher if Wright is sincerely and deeply attached to Ina or if its more of superficial thing. I was also thinkingly deeply about Ina’s character as a whole, and i to believe that there is a specific reason the author made her the more dominant character in the novel, I’m just not sure what the reason is. Maybe its to show that not all dominate characters have to be male, which she also proves with Wright’s character confessing that he would stop for her again even though he knows he’s linked to her, which to me shows weakness in a man which is not commonly shown in text. Maybe the author is a feminist, or at least has some feminist views.

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  8. This passage stood out to me as well. It was the point at which I noticed the immense power Shori had over Wright, to the point where it almost strikes me as an abuser/abusee relationship. From the beginning, it struck me as odd that the author chose to make the protagonist a woman who looks like a child, and that story got progressively stranger to me as she seemed irresistible to the people around her. However, it is important to note that even though she looks like a young girl, she is an adult and the people around her are actually incapable of leaving her- she does have all the power.
    -Jimmy Nolan

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  9. I think you made a very good point about the drastic difference in size versus power in Shori and Wright’s relationship. There are so many ways in which their relationship is unconventional (in terms of vampire relationships and human) and this is certainly one of them. What I found interesting, however, was that Wright doesn’t seem entirely upset about his situation, confused perhaps but not upset, until he sees that Ina have multiple symbionts. This could be out of jealousy, but it could also be another insight into the effect that Ina venom (and maybe specifically Ina female venom) has on humans. Wright doesn’t seem to want to share Shori.

    Siri

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  10. This is a very telling block quote that you chose. To me, it highlights the frustration that Wright feels. Wright feels this frustration partly because at some point he was the one and only symbiont that Shori had. He had her full focus and attention as well as affection. He was just as attached to her as she was to him. The power dynamic that you mention really plays a role in here. When she acquires more symbionts, she does not need him as much as he needs her. The power shift awakens Wright to the reality of his situation, and to question whether he should have avoided all of this and passed her by on the road.

    -Serina Thomas

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  11. This is a very important passage because it describes the ever changing dynamic between Wright and Shori. Even though Wright knows that he would rather not have stopped for Shori, he can’t help but be still attracted to her. As her symbiont, he is chemically addicted to her. This shows the strong dynamic between vampire and human. Wright is no longer blissfully ignorant as he was before and now is starting to realize the danger of being with her. This really changes the dynamic between the two. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

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  12. I too found this passage a turning point in wright and shori’s relationship. I find it interesting how well Butler uses traditional vampire characteristics such as figure of dominance while expressing new ones such as a youthful looking girl! I found some cases of foreshadowing in this reading and feel it is a way butler connects their relationship throughout the story

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  13. I think this passage is interesting because of the dynamic between Shori and Wright. In a normal love story, the woman is the less dominant person in the relationship, the more vulnerable one. This passage makes it clear that Shori has all of the power and that Wright has no control over how he feels about Shori and feels a strong desire and incomplete-ness when he is not with her. The man who is usually in full control now has no control.

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