“That struggle/collaboration between opposites is part of vitality for (Octavia Butler) in nature just as in individuals, and when you don't have that sort of mutuality, all you're left with is something inert and dead. But the other crucial aspect of survival for Butler is that it isn't the same thing as victory or freedom. Because of her place in American society, she saw survival as entailing compromise and filled with a lot of sadness. She viewed survival as necessary even in the face of constraint and pain. Survival is always mixed up with its own opposite, suicide, a recurring threat in nearly all of her novels. Her characters often seem close to simply giving up and allowing themselves to die. So, staying alive in Butler's terms is always about allowing in a certain amount of pain, sometimes as much pain as you can tolerate, even as it makes other sorts of joys possible.”