ENGL 436 001
May 2, 2013
In Octavia Butler’s novel, Kindred, the main character Dana and her husband, Kevin, time travel backwards from the year 1976 in California to the nineteenth century in the antebellum South. Both Dana and her husband are authors in their present time, but, because of gender, he is paid more. They faced the long-time issue of racism as Dana is African-American and Kevin is Caucasian, which contributed to Kevin’s success as well. Their relationship portrayed how far society had not come when it came to discrimination. Though race was still an issue, but accepted more in the modern day, their families did not agree upon their decision to marry one another. The two had been introduced to even harsher times as they time traveled to the days where whites were extremely superior to blacks and Kindred addresses the effects that slavery consumes.
Dana is the time traveler, and, in the prologue, is afraid to admit this to anyone for fear that they may think she is insane. The first time traveling experience the readers get is her arrival at a river where she tries to rescue a drowning boy, Rufus, but is stopped when a man approaches her with a gun. We learn here that when Dana’s life is in danger, she returns to the modern day. When she jumps through time again, Dana’s shock by the use of the word “nigger” and by facing the harsh reality of slavery would be just as surprising to most readers today simply because it would not be just another story of the past. Rufus, as discussed in class, summons Dana’s presence in the nineteenth century whenever he needs to be saved. Their relationship is typical of most blacks and whites of this time period where Rufus is in-control because of his gender and race. He respects Dana, though, and he also fears her; her clothing, hair, and educational experience is unusual to many of the time. Rufus is also Dana’s relative because she is aware that her grandmother was born to...
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