Wild Seed Study Guide

Wild Seed

Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler

Wild Seed is the story of two immortal Africans named Doro and Anyanwu. Doro is a spirit who can take over other people’s bodies, killing anyone and anything in his path, while Anyanwu is a woman with healing powers who can transform herself into any human or animal. When they meet, Doro senses Anyanwu’s abilities and wants to add her to one of his seed villages in the New World, where he breeds super humans. Doro convinces Anyanwu to travel with him to America by telling her he will give her children she’ll never have to watch die. Although Doro plans to impregnate her himself, he also wants to share her with his son Isaac. Isaac has very strong telekinetic powers and is one of Doro’s most successfulseeds. By partnering Anyanwu and Isaac together, Doro hopes to obtain children with very special abilities.

Doro discovers that when Anyanwu transforms into an animal, he cannot sense or kill her. Feeling threatened by her shape-shifting ability, he wonders whether he holds enough control over her. Anyanwu witnesses Doro’s barbaric ways and plain disregard for his people, which frightens her. When they arrive at the seed village, Doro tells Anyanwu that she is to marry Isaac, bear his children and the children of whomever else Doro chooses. Anyanwu eventually agrees once Isaac convinces her that she could be theonly one to get through to Doro.

Fifty years later, Doro returns to the seed village. His relationship with Anyanwu has deteriorated, and one of the only things keeping him from killing her is her successful marriage to Isaac. He has come home because he senses that Anyanwu’s daughter, Nweke, is fully coming into her powers. During her transition, Nweke attacks Anyanwu. Trying to protect Anyanwu, Isaac accidentally kills Nweke and suffers a heart attack. Anyanwu realizes she is too weak to heal Isaac and he dies. Afraid that Doro will kill her now that Isaac is notthere to protect her, Anyanwu transforms into an animal and runs away.

After a century, Doro finally tracks Anyanwu down to a Louisiana plantation. To his surprise, Anyanwu has created her own colony, which in many ways is more successful than Doro's. She protects her people until Doro's arrival, at which point he forces his breeding program on her community. One man he brings to mate with one of Anyanwu’s daughters ruins the harmony of the colony, resulting in several deaths. Anyanwu becomes tired of Doro's control, since his immortality makes him the only permanent thing in her life. She decides to commit suicide. Her decision causes Doro to have a change of heart. In desperation, he agrees tocompromise as long as she goes on living. From that point on, Doro no longer kills as carelessly to remain immortal, and does not choose his kills from the people that he should be protecting. He also stops using Anyanwu to breed; from now on she helps him in his quest to try to find more promisingseeds, but is more of an ally and partner than his slave.

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