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Hierarchy of Foreignness

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The Hierarchy of Foreignness was a classification system of humans and other species designed by Valentine Wiggin in her "Letter to the Framlings" as Demosthenes, for classifying how "alien" an individual was relative to a subject.[1]

It was organized in five tiers, from least alien to most:

UtlänningEdit

 An utlänning was defined as a stranger recognized as human from the same planet as a subject, but of a different nation or city.[1]

Utlänning means "foreigner" in Swedish.

FrämlingEdit

A främling was defined as a stranger recognized as human, but from a different planet than a subject.[1]

Främling means "stranger" in Swedish.

RamanEdit

Raman were defined as strangers recognized as "human", but of another sentient species entirely. The term was only ever used to refer to the entire species as a whole rather than an individual member.[1]

Although not a common word, it may be constructed in Swedish from + män, where rå indicates "coarse" (not refined), and män means "man" or "person."

Varelse Edit

Varelse were defined as true aliens; they were sentient beings, but so foreign that no meaningful communication would be possible with the subject.[1]

Varelse means "creature" in Swedish.

DjurEdit

"He's varelse then, or worse — djur, the dire beast, that comes in the night with slavering jaws."
Speaker for the Dead, page 36

Djur were non-sentient beings. They were capable of independent thought and action, but their mode of communication could not relay any meaningful information to the subject because the djur itself lacked the capacity for rational thought and self-awareness.[1]

Djur means "animal" in Swedish.

Application to species Edit

Formics Edit

Due to their seemingly genocidal intentions in the three Formic Wars, the Formics were initially considered to be varelse. Their near-xenocide at the hands of Ender Wiggin was celebrated for at least a half-century before the public opinions of humans began to change.[2]

The writing of the short novel The Hive Queen showed that the Formics, once they realized that humans were sentient, deeply regretted their actions in the First and Second Formic Wars and decided not to send another colonization fleet to Earth. Their inability to communicate with the humans led to their utter destruction in the Third Invasion. This simple book slowly began to change public opinion, as they began to see the Formics as tragic creatures and see Ender Wiggin as a heinous mass-murderer, the Xenocide.[2]

By the time the Hierarchy of Foreignness was designed, humanity began to refer to the Formics as raman. However, many were still fearful of the thought that the Formics were still in existence, and when their civilization was re-founded on Lusitania, the human citizens who saw the Formics became terrified.[3]

Pequeninos Edit

The first encounters humanity had with the Lusitania-native Pequeninos were peaceful, leading the furry aliens to be deemed as raman. However, this was disputed after the Pequeninos killed two humans, Pipo and later Libo Figueira, while attempting to bring them into the "Third Life" stage in the Pequenino life cycle. The Xenologers and Xenobiologists were afraid to ask the Pequeninos about the motives behind the apparent murders, and as a result began to see them as truly alien, the varelse. Some even deemed them to be djur. [1]

However, when it was explained to the humans that the Pequeninos were trying to honor Pipo and Libo by bringing them into the Third Life, they realized that the Pequeninos were not varelse, but simply were unaware that humans could not enter the Third Life. From this point on, Pequeninos were seen as raman to the inhabitants of Lusitania, but the outside galaxy had no knowledge of this explanation.[1]

Humans Edit

While humans were the designers and users of the Hierarchy of Foreignness classification system, they themselves were subject to it. Even though the majority of the human galaxy did not question the concept that humans were raman, after evaluating their attitude towards the Descoladores' existence and the near-xenocide of the Formics, several humans on an exploration team from Lusitania questioned whether humans were raman or varelse. [4]

Descoladores Edit

Although there was no direct interaction between the Descoladores and other species, the effects of their spreading of the Descolada virus severely impacted the ecosystem of Lusitania and the life cycle of the Pequeninos. The virus also caused the deaths of hundreds of human colonists when the planet was first settled. The exploration team sent to study the species initially assumed that the Descoladores were varelse due to their apparent disregard for other lifeforms in the universe, but this statement was reconsidered after the species was seen using similar viruses as a form of communication.[4]

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Speaker for the Dead
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ender in Exile
  3. Xenocide
  4. 4.0 4.1 Children of the Mind

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