First Lady’s Blog: Review of Kindred

Review of Kindred by Octavia Butler

This book drew me in and I could not put it down. This book is considered science fiction but you would not know it from reading it. It must have been categorized that way because of the time travel.

Dana is the main character living with her husband in 1976 in California. We do not discover until later in the book that her husband, Kevin, is Caucasian. Dana is transported into the days of slavery to help a young Caucasian boy who is one of her ancestors. It is important that he survives in order to preserve her chance at being born. She also has the difficult task of ensuring her great-grandmother allows herself to be raped. This is accomplished through Dana's coaxing.

Although Dana is completely opposed to the institution of slavery, she quickly succumbs to some of its conventions. She realizes how easy it is to become a slave. When she is transported to the past, she spends various spans of time in the 1800's, while in her current time, it may only be minutes or a few days. Her transport to the past is usually preceded by a sickening feeling and her transport back is usually due to a frightening event. To her detriment, she finds that she becomes less frightened and more tolerant in the past, thereby increasing her spans of time there.

Dana does not return from the 1800's unaffected by the atrocities of slavery, however. Every time she returns she finds that a part of her is missing; she begins to bear the physical marks of servitude. Dana develops a sort of friendship with the young man Rufus whom she is sent back to rescue various times. Although she is able to speak partially candid with him, he constantly reminds her that he is her superior.

Butler has Dana navigating well through these two spaces of time. One of the most compelling parts of the book is Dana's final return home. She does not escape unscathed. Each time she returns home she is more battered and bruised. In her final departure, a literal part of her remains in the 1800's. An arm which she loses stays permanently attached to a wall, forever linking her between the past and her present. Butler also has Dana kill Rufus, the man whose life she was sent to protect. This is because Rufus was about to rape Dana. Butler allows Dana to linger in the thoughts of how easily it would have been for her to surrender to Rufus' advances, but in the end she knows that she loves her husband Kevin and she kills Rufus for attempting to posses her.

Butler does not spend much time addressing what the people in the present think about Dana and Kevin's predicament. She glosses over one of Dana's relatives thinking Kevin beats Dana.

Dana has a sort of militancy about her most likely due to being black in the 1970’s. She wears pants all throughout the book even when she is in the 1800's when women did not wear pants. Through this defiant act, Butler demonstrates Dana’s control over her surroundings. Other than a few comments made about her appearing to look like a man, no one forces her to put on a dress despite the fact that she was supposed to be a slave. Dana’s husband Kevin does not seem to play a very significant role. He was to be her protector by posing as her master rather than husband, but Dana always seemed to be the one in control.

Comments are closed.


About Holiness Tabernacle

Holiness Tabernacle Church Of God In Christ is located in Northern Virginia where our desire is to build a work as unto the Lord through the lives of people. We desire to minister to the total man; spiritually, physically, mentally, and financially.

Read more ....

Our Location

1440 Old Bridge Road
Woodbridge, VA 22192

Directions ...

Sunday Schedule

  9:15 am     Sunday School
11:00 am     Morning Worship
  5:00 pm     Evening Worship

View Schedule ...

Connect With HTC!!!

Copyright ©2016 Holiness Tabernacle COGIC. All Rights Reserved.