The Power Play Between Rayal and Jansee Essay

Submitted By pheenix
Words: 2073
Pages: 9

The Power Play Between Rayal and Jansee in Patternmaster In her book Patternmaster, Octavia Butler's female characters live under not only a hierarchical system but also a society that is dominated by men. The women, even if they are mentally strong and considered powerful, are often portrayed as being lesser than men and expected to submit under their control. The society is divided into three groups: The Patternists who are all mentally linked. The Mutes who are humans that lack a psychic talent or ability, and the Clayarks, diseased half-human creatures who are regarded by the Patternists as mindless savages. The Patternist who are all mentally linked through the Pattern are the ruling class. Even so, among them, there is also a hierarchical system depending on the strength of each ones mental abilities. This has led to a tense society in which the most powerful telepaths control those who are less powerful. Rayal is the most powerful man in the Patternist society. He is the Patternmaster, who controls the Pattern and therefore all the Patternists. However he has been infected with the Clayarks disease and is slowly dyeing. The most powerful sons of Rayal will challenge each other in a fight to the death in order to succeed him and gain control of the Pattern. His lead sister wife is upset over the idea of killing but is powerless to do anything about it. In this paper I will discuss the power play between the two most powerful Patternists, how each respond to this power and how despite the fact that even though Jansee is powerful she is consistently minimized by Rayal. We are first introduced to is Jansee and Rayal in the prologue. Jansee is the sister and lead wife to Patternmaster Rayal. She is considered to be the second most powerful Patternist and obviously is a woman. The story begins as they are laying in Rayal's huge bed lulled by the peacefulness of the Pattern. Note how it is his bed. However, as Butler writes, “ Only Jansee could still find reason for discontent. Her children as usual.” (Butler 627). Too many times women are viewed as the ones always unsatisfied and wanting more. Jansee wants to check on their sons which whom she has not seen in over two years. Jansee would have went against custom and kept her children close, however she did not and they are 480 kilometers away. Rayal just yawns and finds Jansee to be too much like a Mute in her concerns for her children. He can't understand Jansee's desire to see her children. He asks her “why bother” since she is linked with them and could tell if anything is wrong. Jansee wants to send a Mute so she can see them through “his” memory when “he” gets back. The terms “his” and “he” suggests that only a man is superior enough to be used for the task. Rayal just shakes his head and asks Jansee why she wants to see them. Jansee cant explain why but says there is “something.” A mother's need to connect with her children perhaps? After feeling her uneasiness ripple through the Pattern, Rayal tells her to send an outsider (lower class Patternist) instead since “he” will have the ability to better defend himself in case the Clayarks take notice. Rayal then tells her she should have more children because she might be less concerned with the two they already have. The opening scene gives the reader the impression that Jansee wants to see her children just as any loving mother would want to do. Although she is the second most powerful Patternist and could have possibly went against custom she chose not to and sent her children away. Rayal emits an air of arrogance and comes off as the uncaring father uninterested in his children while he minimizes Jansee's concerns for their children. Upon further reading, Jansee realizes that Rayal is mocking her but she was used to this. She retorts by saying “You want me to have children by one of your outsiders?” Rayal is aware that Jansee was calling his bluff and tells her she should at least have children by a…