What lies in the mind of an author as he or she begins the long task of writing a fiction novel? This question can be answered if the author's life is studied and then compared to the work itself. Octavia E. Butler's life and her novel Kindred have remarkable comparisons. This essay will point out important events of Butler's life and how they link to the mentioned novel.
Octavia Estelle Butler was born on June 22, 1947 in Pasadena, California (Voices From 1). She began her life with many hardships as an only child and having her father die when she was very young (Voices From 1). She grew up in a location that had a wide variety of racial backgrounds, however Butler never felt like she lived in a world of segregation (Notable Black 144). She describes the situation best when she states, "I never...lived in a segregated neighborhood nor went to segregated school; the whole community was an economic ghetto" (Notable Black 144). The lack of money sometimes creates a humble atmosphere and that must have been the case with Pasadena throughout her childhood.
Until this point it seems as if Butler had a very unhappy childhood, but the life that she was living was shaping her to become the great author that she is today. Trials can become positive experiences for one to grow and mature and this was definitely her case. Having been an only child, Butler spent most of her time surrounded by an adult crowd, presumably the acquaintances of her mother (Notable Black 144). Thus, she grew up as a "very solitary individual" (Notable Black 144). She was also inflicted with dyslexia, which made it very difficult for her to keep up with the rest of the children her age (Notable Black 144)....
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...utler, Octavia E. Kindred. Boston: Beacon Press, 1979.
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Gates, Jr., Henry Louis, and Dorothy Allison. Reading Black, Reading Feminist: A Critical Anthology. Ed. Henry Louis Gates. New York: Meridian Book, 1990.
Jackson, Jerome H. "Sci-fi Tales from Octavia E. Butler." The Crisis 101.3(1994): 4-5,10.
Smith, Jessie Carney, Ed. Notable Black American Women. Detroit: Gale Research, 1992.
Stevenson, Rosemary. Black Women in America: an Historical Encyclopedia. Ed. Darlene Clark Hine, Elsa Barkley Brown, Rosalyn Terborg-Penn. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Carlson Pub., 1993.
"Voices From the Gaps -- Women Writers of Color." July 31, 1998. October 14, 1998. http://english.cla.umn.edu/Ilkd/vfg/Authors/OctaviaButler.
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