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Analyzing Character Development In Octavia Butler's Kindred '

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Analyzing Character Development: Dana
Octavia Butler’s novel, Kindred, provides a unique look into slavery in the antebellum South through the eyes of Edana Franklin, a black woman living in the late 20th century, who is suddenly sent through time to the early 19th century where she is suddenly faced with the task of protecting her ancestor, Rufus, from many dangers in order to ensure her existence in the present. Dana begins her adventure with no knowledge of how or why she has been given this responsibility and, as a result, must adapt to her new and unfamiliar surroundings. As the novel progresses, the reader sees Dana’s internal battle with herself as she decides whether or not Rufus is worth saving, or if she should let Rufus die
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It grabs the reader’s attention immediately with its opening sentence, “I lost an arm on my last trip home.” This foreshadows the violence and physical suffering that Dana will face in the novel. The police officers, who arrested Kevin because they believed he was responsible for Dana’s injuries, foreshadows the abuse of power that the authority figures, in this case Rufus and his father, will display. The reader also gets a look at Dana’s hesitation to tell the complete truth out of fear of being disbelieved or considered…show more content…
Tom Weylin has grown much older and frail, and tells Dana that as long as she cares for Rufus he will allow her to stay, and he will hurt her if any harm comes to him. Dana believes him. Tom soon dies of a heart attack, and Rufus believes that Dana could have saved him. Rufus sends Dana to work in the fields as a punishment for not saving him, and she is whipped. Rufus is just as controlling as ever and forces Dana to stay, and when she does he becomes gentler. He wants Dana to care for his mother and allows Dana to spend the rest of the day doing whatever she chooses. When Margaret returns, she forces Dana to care for her, but she has lost the temper due to age and the drugs she is taking. One day, Dana discovers that some of the plantation’s slaves are being sold and is devastated. Rufus claims that his father arranged the sale before he died. Alice gives birth to Hagar, and Dana is relieved because this means that her existence in the present is safe. She is not immediately sent home and must deal with more trouble with Rufus, including being slapped by him, so she later decides to attempt suicide, knowing that the danger will send her home, and if it doesn’t she is at the very least free from the danger. This event is also the first time that Dana forces herself to be sent to the present rather than waiting for danger to find her. She is finally fleeing Rufus’s abuses, feeling betrayed because this is the first time that Rufus
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