“I won’t always ask”: Complicating Agency in Octavia Butler’s Fledgling


  • Florian Bast




This study reads Octavia Butler’s Fledgling“ as a narrative of agency. Critically engaging previous scholarly tendencies to focus solely on the main protagonist’s successful struggle for self-determination, this essay investigates the ways in which Fledgling complicates and irritates simplistic notions of agency, as the novel questions both the possibility and desirability of a high level of agency.

Author Biography

Florian Bast

Florian Bast earned his M.A. in German Studies and American Studies from Leipzig University in 2009. In 2005 and 2006 he took graduate courses at Washington University in St. Louis’s German and English Departments. In 2009 and 2010 he taught courses on American literature both on an introductory and an advanced level at Leipzig University. He is currently working on his PhD project, which investigates different constructions of agency in the novels of Octavia Butler. His academic interests can be broadly summarized as falling between the fields of African American Studies, Science Fiction Studies, and theories of agency, focussing in particular on the neo-slave narrative and the fantastic in African American literature.


How to Cite

Bast, Florian. “‘I won’t Always ask’: Complicating Agency in Octavia Butler’s Fledgling”. Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies, vol. 11, Mar. 2012, doi:10.5283/copas.128.




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