violence in kindred

1237 Words Aug 27th, 2015 5 Pages
Arad Levytan
ENG4U
Mr. Patrick
August 7th, 2015
Is the Violence in Kindred Necessary? In modern society, violence is unquestionably looked down upon. With any type of inhumane abuse, there is a strict set of laws in place to protect victims. However, this was not always the case. In Octavia Butler’s book Kindred, she does not hesitate in intensely describing the unjust and violent exploitation of power by white people against blacks within the 1800’s. Even more so, she uses violence as a dominant theme throughout the entire novel. As always, a sensitive topic like full out physical abuse is hard to handle for some readers, and that makes people question whether the prevalent violent theme in Kindred was truly necessary. Without violence,
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For any small act of disobedience, there was an unimaginably larger punishment. In Kindred, the impact of these violence acts were accurately represented through Dana’s thoughts on them. She said “the whipping served its purpose as far as I was concerned. It scared me, made me wonder how long it would be before I made a mistake that would give someone a reason to whip me” (Butler 92). Through this quote from Dana, it is evident how Butler used the torturous beatings to showcase the harsh mental effects it had on the victims. Similarly, the whippings are a symbol of a slave’s life. Like a whipping session, a slave’s life was hard and stretched out, and with everyday they would break down more and more. Sometimes, the fear of getting whipped was a more powerful tool in preventing rebellions than the actual physical pain they caused. Because whippings were essential in controlling the slaves, it was vital for Butler to include them in the novel. Lastly, violence in Kindred was used to show how the treatment of slaves was used to dehumanize and put down blacks. In a society where a slave owner had absolute power over its “property”, the importance of a slave’s life was greatly disregarded. Butler used this notion and violence to show how in the eyes of whites, slaves were subhuman. Thusly, they had no rights, and received extremely unlucky treatment. When traveling to the 1800’s as a black women, Dana stated that in that time “there was no shame in raping a black woman,
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