Rye’s name was derived from an object she wore on her body.
This object was “a pin in the shape of a large golden stalk of wheat,” “thinking it was as close as she was likely to come to Rye” (Butler 412).
This disease affects people’s communication and Butler represents Rye, the protagonist, as a woman who has the ability to speak.
It seems that Butler wants to represent Rye’s ability to speak among the others who cannot as a way to emphasize on a dominant woman presence in the society.
Octavia Butler is one of the outstanding black feminist writers who write science fiction toward a utopian society.
However, Butler’s short story “Speech Sounds” can be read as a depiction of a dystopian or anti-utopian society that represented by misery, violence, and disorder.
It seems that Butler is portraying that African American women were not given the option to hold the power.
Therefore, we can see in the story that when Rye identifies that the two children are able to speak she decides to abandon them to protect and teach them.
She may not have the power to speak in public, but she has the power to protect the children from the jealousy and violation in that society.
In an uk interview titled “Magic, Mystery and Mayhem: An Interview with J. Rowling,” when asked about the way she came up with the names of characters in her books, she replied, “I invented some of the names in the Harry books, but I also collect strange names. Rowling chose these names for a reason based on the deeper meanings behind every character's name and the way they relate to their roles and personalities. Butler's short story “Speech Sounds”, Rye and Obsidian were the names she chose for her characters.