What Is The Theme Of The Kindred

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Literary Analysis
Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred explores the life of Dana Franklin. Rufus, an eventual plantation owner, unintentionally summons Dana across time to protect him every time his life is put in danger. She is dragged into the past and forced to endure the life of a slave in the antebellum South. She is repeatedly drawn back to ensure Rufus will live to guarantee the birth and survival of her family. Each time she arrives in the past, Dana’s journeys become increasingly dangerous because of Rufus’ obsessive need for her protection. She is finally freed from the pull of the past when she has to kill Rufus because she is threatened with rape. Dana's maternal instincts allow her to protect Rufus everytime she is drawn back despite the
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Dana, traveling from a time that was so far away from her own, was ridiculed for being independent, wearing what she wanted, and having her hair short. She was a woman who didn’t fit the description of other women in that era. Butler repeatedly highlights this through the words and actions of other characters. “Not with you dressed like that!” She thought you were a man at first, just like I did—and like Daddy did,” (29) Rufus said to her inferring that as a woman in the time period they were in did not dress in pants, which according was considered men’s clothing. He later said, “You don’t talk right or dress right or act right”(30) inferring that a black woman in that era would not speak with such intellect or dare to treat a white man as Dana treated Rufus. According to The Clothes Make the Man, the Woman and the Slave, female slaves never wore just pants, even in the winter they would wear a dress and pants like material underneath. Pants were for men and men only in the 1800s; therefore, Dana doing something as simple as wearing pants made other characters uncomfortable. Along with her peculiar attire, Dana was weary of the way African Americans were treated, and she did not conceal her feelings about the matter. Refusing to call Rufus Mister or Master obviously alarmed him. “And you don't call me ‘Master’ either...You’re supposed to,”(30) Rufus told her clearly serious and confused that…show more content…
When he sets a fire in his room, when he almost drowned, when he broke his leg, when he gets into a fight and, when he’s drunk and cold, Dana was there. According to Educational Psychologists On Why Motherhood Is More Defined by Psychology than Biology, “the concept of mothers as superior caregivers can be explained as the result of psychological responses to the division of labor and organization of production.” With Dana being a woman, she is expected to be a natural nurturer. In the novel, Dana is appointed to take care of Alice when she is brought in bruised and injured. “ I thought you’d know more” (147) said Rufus while explaining why he wanted her to take care of Alice. When Marse Tom was dying, Dana was awoken out of her sleep and, she was called to come to his rescue. When asked was the doctor called , Alice responded with “Already Sent For… they want you.” (208) “Do something” (209) Rufus demanded Dana despite the fact that there was nothing she knew to do.This examples shows that Dana was looked at as someone who could heal and relieve pain because of her identity. She was even the caretaker for Rufus’s mother when she was sick. Throughout the entire novel, Butler assigns Dana the role of caretaker and she fulfills the needs of the sick and afflicted every
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