`` Kindred, By Octavia Butler

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In Octavia Butler’s novel, Kindred, Butler presents to the reader the controversial character of Rufus Weylin, a white plantation owner who is also the ancestor of the novel’s protagonist, Dana. As the story progresses, Rufus commits various heinous and agreeable acts that would have the reader question his innate goodness, or lack thereof. Butler never explicitly states whether Rufus is naturally good or inherently evil, but, through a number of incidents that merge to illustrate his true character, Butler allows the reader to draw their own conclusion on the matter of Rufus’ intrinsic nature.
Much of Rufus’ goodness can only be considered remarkable when observed in the context of the time period in which he lives. Unlike Dana, Rufus is raised in a world where the majority of black people are slaves and white men are superior to blacks and women by law. Rufus himself ends up assuming the role of a plantation owner once his father dies. That said, there are a handful of actions that Rufus commits willingly that can be seen as “good.” His more staunchly kindhearted moments occur when he is young and impressionable, like when he tries to save Dana from “[getting] in trouble” with his father and other whites by helping her assimilate into life as a slave; here in particular, Rufus warns Dana that she must refer to him as “Master”. He is “concerned, even frightened” for Dana, solidifying the notion that his advice is not for his own benefit but for hers (30). As a slave owner’s

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