Oppression In Kindred

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Oppression: The Inevitable Devastation of A Generation

Imagine being forced against your will to stand on a platform completely naked and physically incapable of fighting or even running. Imagine standing there with your hands and feet in chains and your body sore and exhausted from hours of picking cotton under the penetrating rays of the sun. This dramatization was not just a powerful perception of the physical, mental and emotional barriers set forth during slavery but a depiction of the reality African Americans were forced to endure. Furthermore, it serves to remind us of a time in history where the concept of “us vs. them” nearly destroyed an entire culture and dramatically altered what it meant to be human. Consequently, the aspect …show more content…

Each form utilizing a different strategy to bring to detail the events that took place in African American History. Kindred is a fictional novel written by Octavia Butler that brilliantly uses time travel and interracial relationships to detail just how different the antebellum south was compared to modern times. “Dana, an African-American woman, is suddenly and inexplicably wrenched through time into antebellum Maryland. After saving a drowning white boy there, she finds herself staring into the barrel of a shotgun and is transported back to the present just in time to save her life.” (Goodreads)The text correlates directly to the discussion of racism and oppression to the time period in which it is written and the events that take place within the story’s plot. Dana is completely unaware of just how difficult life was for her ancestors before she was teleported to the time period in which they lived. Due to this, she is completed shocked when she witnesses the brutal world that slavery had created. “But I hadn’t lain nearby and smelled their sweat or heard them pleading and praying, shamed before their families and themselves. I was probably less prepared for the reality than the child crying not far from me.” (Butler …show more content…

However, there are of course moments where the “enemies” or the “oppressors” graphically express their authority. One of these moments can be seen within Dana’s first time arriving where she witnessed the beating of slave who had been punished for back-talking. “Once I was called over to the slave cabins—the quarter—to watch Weylin punish a field hand for the crime of answering back. Suddenly, he brought the whip down across the slave’s back.” (Butler 42) It is also seen within the moment Isaac and Alice were caught after fleeing. Isaac was sold off to Mississippi only after being beaten and having his ears cut off. Alice was also beaten to the point where she had to regain her memory to realize what had happened to her, how she was hurt and that she was married. “They beat me,” she whispered. “I remember. The dogs, the rope … They tied me behind a horse and I had to run, but I couldn’t … Then they beat me …” (Butler 184) The last moment comes right before the end of the text when Dana herself becomes more than just an observer in the slave world. She is shifted into the actually position as a slave by being sent to the fields, beaten and almost killed. “Sent me to the field, had me beaten, made me spend nearly eight months sleeping on the floor of his mother’s room.” (Butler 221) These moments provide a clear indication as to who maintained control throughout the story

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