I've noticed that most of the other posts are about information, or artificial reality, or something like that, but I've decided to post on something that's a little closer to the range of my interests.
I feel that the entire novel works to reconcile Lore with the incredibly intimate and damaging rape that occurred in her past. All her experiences outside of the protecting curtain of the Van de Oests functions to give her the perspective and independence from which she can understand and come to accept what happened to her. She must reconcile her own sexual attraction for women with the horrible emotional injury that was inflicted upon her by a woman.
(This started out as a reply to two separate posts, but got rather long and wandered off a bit on its own argument, so I'm posting it independently, but referencing the posts that inspired parts of it where applicable.)
In reply to CZ and his assertion that the Oankali are definitely alien in his comment to roseblack's post --I'm not going to argue that there is a direct correlation between every aspect of the Oankali and humans. Lacking my own tentacled ooloi, I'd be a bit hard pressed. I will, however, argue that there are many parallels to be drawn between them and us, particularly pertaining to gender. That is, if I can be trusted to not be apparently inherently manipulative self.
As CZ stated in own blog, the Oankali are not in the moral right they wish to see themselves inhabiting (a self-delusion to which humans themselves are prone).
After reading dreamfall17's comments about the loss of hope in Children of Men, I did some thinking about hope in The Handmaid's Tale, and stumbled on the idea -- which I presume to see, at least -- that sex is the predominant source of hope in this novel.
I don't know whether anyone else read Ender's Game with Starship Troopers this semester--or had read it before--but I just read this interesting post on the Feminist SF blog--I was actually linked to it from Paper Cuts--about Orson Scott Card's winning the Margaret A. Edwards Award, which, I also learned, is some sort of important lifetime achievement award for YA lit. The thrust of the post is that Card is a horrible bigot and shouldn't be touted as a credible voice for young people.
*I think I have a different addition, so my page numbers are probably very wrong. Sorry about that*