A Lesson Before Dying And Kindred: Literary Analysis

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The books A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines and Kindred by Octavia E. Butler are set in different time periods but you can see the theme of society and setting playing a huge role on a person’s identity. The book Kindred is set over many years in the eighteen hundreds and in nineteen seventy six. The book A Lesson Before Dying is set in the nineteen forties. In both of these books you can see how the character’s setting affects how they act. Two main motifs that show through during these time periods in that of slavery and racism. These two motifs can be seen throughout almost every chapter of each book.

In the book Kindred, our protagonist, Dana is seen struggling with the racism and slavery that was present in the 1800s. When she first travels back in time she is on a beach and sees a little boy struggling to stay afloat. She jumps into action and saves the boy from drowning and while she is expecting praise for saving the boy's life. She is knocked to the ground and is held at gunpoint. This is one of the shortest times she spends back in the 1800s but it is easily one of the most important for the reader. It gives the reader their first glimpse of what life in going to be like for Dana very soon. She travels back in forth a few times and learns that the boy she saved is actually her ancestor and he starts to become as fond of
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In the book our protagonist, Grant, shows clearing how society and place shapes him from day to day. In his classroom at an all black school he is the leader and is very powerful and shows no shame and back down to no one. Then when he is in the presence of white men he is automatically inferior and lets them lead. This is not only because of his personality but because of how it was the social norm for this to happen back in the 1940s. It is another disturbing and saddening case of how one race could be superior to
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