Character’s relationships with power change a lot over the course of Octavia Butler’s Kindred. One of the most important character changes in the book is Kevin Franklin and Dana’s relationship, and how is changed after living in the 1800’s. Kevin is introduced in the book as Dana’s middle aged husband who she met while working in a “slave market”. Both of them are inspiring writers looking to make a life out of their passion. Before both Kevin and Dana are sent back into slavery time their relationship is very normal. Their marriage is very stable, although they go through different problems surrounding power. Kevin is very dominant towards Dana and at times believes he is better than her. Kevin constantly asks Dana to type out drafts of his
Dana and many of the other slaves had to constantly be aware of their surroundings. They always had to deal with the threat of being sexually harassed or violated. In the beginning of novel, Dana has to fight off a white patroller from raping her. After a visit on patrol, a white patroller came back to collect what he thought he was owed,“I guess you’ll do
The slave owner’s exploitation of the black woman’s sexuality was one of the most significant factors differentiating the experience of slavery for males and females. The white man’s claim to the slave body, male as well as female, was inherent in the concept of the Slave Trade and was tangibly realized perhaps no where more than the auction block. Captive Africans were stripped of their clothing, oiled down, and poked and prodded by potential buyers. The erotic undertones of such scenes were particularly pronounced in the case of black women. Throughout the period of slavery in America, white society believed black women to be innately lustful beings. The perception of the African woman as hyper-sexual made her both the object of white man’s abhorrence and his fantasy. Within the bonds of slavery, masters often felt it was their right to engage in sexual activity with black women. Sometimes, female slaves made advances hoping that such relationships would increase the chances that they or their children would be liberated by the master. Most of the time, slave owners took slaves by force.
In Octavia Butler’s Kindred, Dana and Kevin both experience many unbelievable events that change their sense of reality. They each travel back to the antebellum South for different amounts of time, gaining different insights from the same events. Kevin, a white man, travels back to a time of privilege, while his wife Dana, a black woman, travels back to a time of hardship and enslavement. Their contrasting perspectives cause them to see the world differently. For example, Kevin draws from his sole point of view, while Dana uses her own perspective with other people’s perspectives. No matter when or where they are, Dana and Kevin determine the truth through what see and what they already know.
The narrative exhibits her awareness of the peculiar paternalism arising from the intertwinement of slavery and the cult of true womanhood/domesticity. She further notes that this form of bondage is not only enacted by husbands, fathers, and brothers, but it is also perpetuated by women themselves, who create the cage that holds them captive (Jacobs et al.,
Many conflicts has emerged during the time when Dana was transported back into 1776, the period where slaves thrived in the South. Dana was considered a slave due to her slightly dark skin, and therefore she struggled to play the part of a slave, even though her only motive for traveling back in time was to assure the existence of her family lineage by helping Rufus, her white ancestor, survive as he recklessly gets injured, nearing death’s door several times. With the help of her white husband, Kevin, who accidentally gets transported to the past with her, Dana’s life becomes more safe, stable, and secure, until a deadly whip from Tom Weylin caused her to teleport back into her own time, leaving her husband in the traumatic period of history
White explores the master’s sexual exploitation of their female slaves, and proves this method of oppression to be the defining factor of what sets the female slaves apart from their male counterparts. Citing former slaves White writes, “Christopher Nichols, an escaped slave living in Canada, remembered how his master laid a woman on a bench, threw her clothes over her head, and whipped her. The whipping of a thirteen-year-old Georgia slave girl also had sexual overtones. The girl was put on all fours ‘sometimes her head down, and sometimes up’ and beaten until froth ran from her mouth (33).” The girl’s forced bodily position as well as her total helplessness to stop her master’s torture blatantly reveals the forced sexual trauma many African females endured.
“It is the law of love that rules mankind. Had violence, hate ruled us we should have become extinct long ago. And yet the tragedy of it is that so-called civilized man and nations conduct themselves as if the basis of society was violence,”(Gandhi). In this quote Gandhi says the main reasons of love and hate are mankind. As well that both control and destroy a human. However, in the end the human chooses the one they will follow. In the outstanding novel Kindred by Octavia Butler. The protagonist, Dana, faces many love and hate situations as she travels back and forth in time. Accordingly, she begins to question whom is to blame for the love and hate crimes. Love and hate are influenced by mankind, both can be controlled and the pair are conscious decisions.
Some people venture outside their comfort zone in order to keep existing and live another day. Sometimes this even means putting oneself in danger. From self-inflicted pain to bring suffering upon another person, these dangerous actions are caused by desperation of someone aiming to achieve survival. Everytime Dana travels back in time, she faces a different variety of situations which she needs to overcome in order to be able to journey back to her existing time. In Kindred, Octavia Butler uses the difficulties Dana experience throughout her time travel journey to portray how colored slaves were put under high pressures and the strength it took for Dana to survive. People make decisions that they wouldn’t often do to survive.
Slavery was nothing more than a cruel Institution, that degraded the lives of many African Americans. Slavery was brutal and inhumane at its very. Although slavery has been abolished, many slaves have published narratives that vividly illustrate the abuse and maltreatment they have endured. Mary Prince, a west Indian slave was one out of many slaves to publish her narrative that recounts her life and sheds light on the barbarous ways in which she was treated. One can learn so much about African slavery in the Americas from reading Mary Princes Memoir.
The only difference with modern day slavery is that it is voluntary. Dana had the chance to get a well paying job while she waited to make it as writer by getting the right education. "My aunt and uncle said I could write in my spare tine if I wanted to," I told him. "Meanwhile, for the real future, I was to take something sensible in school if I expected them to support me. I went from the nursing program into a sectorial major, and from ghere to elementary education." (Page 56). However, she clearly opted to work the
As if the physical toil was not enough, slaves were also subject to emotional abuse. From their earliest days, they are made to feel unequal. Jones states “I was made to feel, in my boyhood’s first experience, that I was inferior and degraded, and that I must pass through life in a dependent and suffering condition” (Jones, 97). From his earliest memory, there is not a time that he felt as though he deserved a good life, or that he had any basic human rights. This mentality, and constantly being reminded of their lesser state takes a toll on their minds and bodies. Jones asked himself, “Is it any wonder that the spirit of self- respect of the poor ignorant slave is broken down by such treatment of unsparing and persevering cruelty?” (Jones,
Octavia Butler displays her brilliance as a writer by creating multiple, complex characters in the novel Kindred, characters who epitomize real people with hardships, passions, and transformations that reflect the strict regulations placed upon the Southern society in the early nineteenth century. Dana faces many hardships from the moment Butler shifts her back one-hundred and sixty-one years to a time of slavery where she is stripped of her freedom. Rufus’s passion for Alice transitions into a fog, where he is unable to distinguish between love and control. On the other hand, Butler gives Tom Weylin a depth that reflects his actions and directly relates them to his experiences. Together all three characters’ ideas come to a screaming halt, when they are placed alongside each other and without a choice lives in a time of slavery.
The notion of slavery, as unpleasant as it is, must nonetheless be examined to understand the hardships that were caused in the lives of enslaved African-Americans. Without a doubt, conditions that the slaves lived under could be easily described as intolerable and inhumane. As painful as the slave's treatment by the masters was, it proved to be more unbearable for the women who were enslaved. Why did the women suffer a grimmer fate as slaves? The answer lies in the readings, Harriet Jacob's Incidents in the life of a Slave Girl and Olaudah Equiano's Interesting Narrative which both imply that sexual abuse, jealous mistresses', and loss of children caused the female slaves to endure a more dreadful and hard life in captivity.
Slavery granted more rights and freedoms to white Americans being considered powerful masters who could do everything they wanted not caring about human rights and basic principles of ethics. Since the author presents the female perspective on slavery and racism in the present book, the analysis of female characters and related female suffering due to sexual oppression and exploitation plays an important role in it. Linda Brent, the author herself, is the major female character in the book presenting many instances from her life and showing the life of slaves in detail. From the early childhood, Linda had no bad thoughts about the surrounding environment and did not know the truth about her fate as a slave, as she was born a slave and no other