How Does Octavia Butler Characterize In Kindred

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In the novel, Kindred, Octavia Butler characterizes Rufus Weylin to develop the theme of power and authority. Rufus Weylin is Dana’s great-grandfather, and is thrown back into the past to save him. As she does so, she has to adjust into slavery and empathizes with the other slaves as well. Rufus is characterized at first innocent, then cruel, prejudiced, and selfish. When he was a child, Rufus is sweet but ill-tempered when his mother spoils him but father ignores him. When he grows older, slavery affects him and he becomes prideful, demanding, and cruel to his slaves. He does not treat his slaves well and makes Alice his mistress against her will. Rufus tries to make Alice his mistress against her will and blackmail Dana to let Alice sleep…show more content…
Rufus loves Dana in a possessive and oppressive way. Butler uses diction with Rufus who does not ask Dana to stay, but demands it instead. He sees her as part of his property, and believes he can control her with violence, like the rest of his slaves. Rufus at this point is very dangerous because he can no longer be changed. He is conditioned to use violence when he does not get what he wants, like most slave owners in the Antebellum south. Kevin and Dana discuss what needs to be done with Rufus and Dana explains the forms of punishments she and other slaves receive: “Sent me to the field, had me beaten, made me spend nearly eight months sleeping on the floor of his mother’s room, sold people … He’s done plenty, but the worst of it was to other people” (245). Butler uses diction and characterization of Rufus to exploit how men are immature when power hungry. He contains a lot of power over many human lives, slaves. He abuses his power when he simply wants. Yet, Rufus does not realize that his behavior is abnormal and immoral. Tom Weylin influences Rufus to have a strong desire for power when he ignores Rufus as a child. Rufus also witnesses his father’s use of power over the other slaves when he whips them, or punishes
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