Literary Analysis : Kindred By Octavia Butler Essay

Literary Analysis : Kindred By Octavia Butler Essay

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Kindred
How far would someone go to survive? All through life people go through various challenges, but when someone is facing death, how far would someone will they go to save oneself? Survival can mean many different things; such as making it through highschool without getting into trouble, fighting off a predator, or standing up for what is right to help others. In Kindred, Octavia Butler uses many different situations to show what survival means to her. For example, Dana, the main character, travels through time to save her ancestor Rufus thus experiencing times of near death predicaments. In Kindred, Octavia Butler uses the conflicts Dana experiences in her time travels to suggest the idea that people do things they wouldn’t normally do to survive.
In Dana’s very last trip to the plantation the story line changes, and Dana does things that wouldn’t have been expected of her based on the rest of the book. Butler uses this to show just how far Dana would go to survive. In this scene, Dana is called back to the plantation because Alice, the slave that Rufus purchased for sex, hung herself after Rufus sold their children (242-261). Rufus enters the attic where Dana is and, Dana begins to mentally struggles with her many thoughts, “But it would be so hard to raise the knife, drive it into the flesh I had saved so many times. So hard to kill… He was not hurting me, would not hurt me if I remained as I was. He was not his father, old and ugly, and brutal and disgusting. I would never be to him what Tess had been to his father- a thing passed around like the whiskey jug at a husking ” (260). This shows that Dana is conflicted with stabbing him. She thinks it would just be too difficult and. It would ruin the very purpose ...


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...to see him her husband again. To some this may seem a stupid thing to risk her life for, but Butler wanted to show that Dana was willing to survive anything just to goget back to her husband and present time.
In Octavia Butler’s Kindred, Dana takes many life threatening risks that put her near death, but she always manages to survive. Every time Rufus put his life in danger so did Dana. When Rufus was in danger, Dana was called to the plantation which was hundreds of years before her time period. Every time Dana was at the planation something had to happen to cause her to come near death so she could be sent back to present time. Butler had Dana go through great lengths to survive, from stabbing her own ancestor, to cutting her own wrists, and finally running away along with beinggetting beaten many times. How has the view of survival changed throughout history?

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