Octavia Butler's Kindred vs. Harriet Jacobs' Incidents In The Life of a Slave Girl

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Octavia Butler's Kindred vs. Harriet Jacobs' Incidents In The Life of a Slave Girl

According to 'the conventions for slave narratives', it is possible to categorize Kindred by Octavia Butler as a slave narrative. However, the circumstances that take Dana back in time are imaginative and fantastical compared to slave narratives such as Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs. While reading Kindred, one doesn't really get the experience of the slaves, but how Dana feels as she participates in slave times. Compared to the lives of slaves, her life is much easier and she has the luxury of knowing she is not and never was a slave. In contrast, Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl is a direct portrayal of slavery through
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It wasn?t just racial. They were used to black people. Maybe I could get Kevin to find out what it is. (Butler 70)

Most slaves knew that education got slaves killed. Yet it never occurs to Dana that her speech, her education, her whole aura was unlike any other slave encountered before and therefore she was a potential threat to the slaveholder?s way of life.

Further parallels exist in the relationship they have with their masters. Jacobs? master, Mr. Flint, is obsessed with having her and takes every chance he gets to proposition her in some vulgar fashion. Yet while he desires her, he never tries to force or beat her into submission. Instead he attempts to manipulate her and when that fails threatens to beat or kill her. Jacobs does not hide her dislike of Dr. Flint and at times wonders herself why he does not punish her. She states, ?Sometimes I so openly expressed my contempt for him that he would become violently enraged, and I wondered why he did not strike me? (Jacobs 35). With the threat of physical violence constantly hanging over her head, she is terrified and traumatized by Dr. Flints constant harassment.

Dana?s master Rufus treats her much the same. Once he grows into a young man, he too becomes obsessed with her and makes every attempt to seduce her. He is often kind and sweet but once rejected he becomes enraged and violent. Dana recalls, I can?t be with you Rufus. You don?t love me. You just want what you can?t
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