In Octavia Butler's Wild Seed, there is the following exchange:

"A lie offends me, Anyanwu, and what I see of you is a lie. Show me what you really are."


"Can my concealment be a lie if yours is not?" she asked.
"Mine is," he admitted.
"Then show me as you are. Give me the trust that you asking me to give you."
"You have my trust, Anwanyu, but knowing what I am would only frighten you."
"Am I a child then?" she asked angrily. "Are you my mother who must shield me from adult truths?"
He refused to be insulted. "Most of my people are grateful to me from shielding them from my particular truth," he said.
"So you say, I have seen nothing."

Then Doro reveals his truth:

"I kill, Anyanwu. That is how I keep my youth, my strength. I can do only one thing to show you what I am, and that is kill a man and wear his body like a cloth." He breathed deeply. "This is not the body I was born into. It's not the tenth I've worn, nor the hundredth, nor the thousandth. Your gift seems to be a gentle one. Mine is not."

Why does Doro say 'a lie offends him' when his whole appearance is a lie? What does he mean by saying this to Anwanyu?

1 Answer 1


Primarily, it is because Doro is trying to manipulate Anyanwu into revealing her gifts, because he is trying to judge whether to add her "seed" (her genetic traits) into his family/cult where he is trying to breed a superior groups of psychics whose bodies he can inhabit, so it doesn't matter that he's being contradictory because he is not necessarily sincere in saying that the lie offends him.

Past that, there is the interpretation that her lie is not that of wearing a different body than her true self, but more that she is hiding herself, while Doro is more forthright about being a superior example of a transhuman.

A lifetime of concealment, of commanding herself never to play with her abilities before others, never to show them off as mere tricks, never to let her people or any people know the full extent of her power unless she were fighting for her life.

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