Analysis Of The Book ' Kindred ' Essay

Analysis Of The Book ' Kindred ' Essay

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Octavia Butler wrote Kindred in order “to make others feel the history: the pain and fear that black people have had to live through in order to endure” (Fox). She drew on her mother’s experiences as a maid to tell the story that belonged to many Black Americans. Butler frequently wrote novels with strong, independent black woman protagonists. Kindred tells the story of a 1967 black woman, Dana, who travels back in time to antebellum Maryland to, time and time again, save the life of her white, slaveholding ancestor while also preserving her own. Butler’s usage of Dana as a modern woman travelling back in time where black folk were considered subhuman—black women considered even less so—was a powerful choice and examining the novel through a feminist lens allows the reader to further delve into the concept of sexual agency and motherhood while enslaved.

Butler’s usage of Dana, a modern-day woman, and Alice, her enslaved ancestor, provides a clear contrast of what agency of one’s own sexuality looks like. Butler uses Dana as a counterpart to Alice, displaying her as an empowered agent, acting on her own volition. She marries a white man, whose family doesn’t approve of him marrying a black woman, and engages in a relationship very different from Alice’s relationship with Rufus. Dana and Kevin’s relationship is one of emotional, mental, and physical equality. Butler demonstrates Dana reclaiming her sexuality when Dana and Kevin reunite after Kevin is in the past for five years. The intercourse was a way for Dana to ground herself in her present-day reality where she is free to enjoy sex and have control of her self and her body. While in antebellum Maryland, Dana’s agency is ripped away from her by the hegemony of slave...


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... Weylin needed to make sure his plantation runs smoothly. He let her keep Sarah as a way to ground her to the plantation. Alice refuses to be this Mammy figure, often ridiculing Dana for following Rufus’ every request. Alice’s last attempt for agency is her death by self. She exercises her right to choose death as a freedom from bondage. She escapes the institution while also escaping the clutches of Rufus.

By engaging the nature of black womanhood in the present and the past, Butler amplifies the reader’s understanding of the condition of black women in slavery and freedom. Her narrative reminds readers that the plight for agency of one’s own body has been one of black women for decades. Kindred is a novel that comments on black women’s agency of their own body and motherhood during slavery through the usage of Butler’s characters Dana, Alice, and Sarah.

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Analysis Of The Book ' Kindred ' Essay

- Octavia Butler wrote Kindred in order “to make others feel the history: the pain and fear that black people have had to live through in order to endure” (Fox). She drew on her mother’s experiences as a maid to tell the story that belonged to many Black Americans. Butler frequently wrote novels with strong, independent black woman protagonists. Kindred tells the story of a 1967 black woman, Dana, who travels back in time to antebellum Maryland to, time and time again, save the life of her white, slaveholding ancestor while also preserving her own....   [tags: Slavery, Black people, Sub-Saharan Africa]

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