Character: Akin Iyapo
Source Text: Octavia E. Butler, Adulthood Rites (1988)
Entry Author: Ilana Yoneshige
Throughout Adulthood Rites there are predictions made about the behavior of Humans, as well as the character development of Akin. Lilith, his Human mother, worries that the resistors will hate Akin more than the other construct children because he is male. She says to Nikanj, her ooloi mate, “They will! He isn’t human. Un-Human women are offensive to them, but they don’t usually try to hurt them, and they do sleep with them – like a racist sleeping with racially different women. But Akin…they’ll see him as a threat. Hell, he is a threat. He’s one of their replacements” (10). This quote is a statement that reflects the real world attitude towards males of another race.
Akin is kidnapped in a raid; the resistors, though they refuse to live alongside the Oankali, decide to kidnap many of the construct children out of a desperation to have children among them. Akin is taken to Phoenix where he learns more about his Human ancestry. Tate and Gabe buy him from the raiders and care for him. In Phoenix, Akin learns that the Humans try to humanize the construct children. Several of the people plot to remove the sensory head tentacles of two of the female construct children; a cosmetic surgery that would be lethal to them. Although Akin recognizes and agrees with the Oankali belief that the Humans, if left alone, would revert to their hierarchical tendencies and self-destruct again, the Human part of him understood the need for freedom and choice. When Akin is rescued and returns to Lo, he and the other construct children convince the Oankali to transform Mars into an inhabitable planet.
Akin is special because he is able to identify with both his Oankali and Human ancestry more than any of the other construct children. He chooses to support both the gene trading between the Oankali and Humans as well as the Mars settlement because he is a mixed race child.