Summary Of Octavia Butler's Kindred

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Relationships in which there is not mutual respect are destined to fail. Relationships in which one person’s autonomy is not valued are destructive. For example, when Dana travels back to the Antebellum South for the fourth time, she finds Rufus being beaten by a man as a woman watches from a distance, wearing a torn dress. Dana learns that the woman is Alice, and the man beating Rufus is Isaac, Alice’s husband. She convinces them to leave, and when nursing Rufus back to consciousness, learns that Rufus was beaten because he tried to rape Alice after she refused to marry him. Shocked, Dana protests that Alice had the right to say no to Rufus, but Rufus angrily proclaims, “we’ll see about her rights” (Butler 123). By disregarding Alice’s right…show more content…
Following Dana’s return to the past, Rufus allows her to write a letter to Kevin, informing him of her return. Weeks pass after Rufus sends the letter without a response back from Kevin, so Dana writes another letter, also to no avail. After snooping around in Rufus’ bed chest, Alice discovered that Rufus had kept the letters instead of mailing them. Dana attempts to run away following that revelation, only to be caught and returned. The day after being caught, Rufus calls Dana up to his room, and hands her a letter from Kevin, announcing his arrival. Dana confronts him about his lies of sending the letter, asking, “are you planning to hide more lies from me?” (Butler 179). By not mailing the letters as he told Dana he would, Rufus broke his promise, a promise that was extremely important to Dana. In doing so, Rufus broke not only broke his promise but subsequently destroyed Dana’s trust in him. As a result of Dana not being able to trust Rufus, when Rufus attempts to rape her, Dana is unable to guarantee her safety and is consequently forced to stab him. This signaled the destruction of their relationship. Even in history, the breaking of promises led to the destruction of relationships. Following his divorce to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, then-King Henry VIII married the young, 20-year old Catherine Howard. Because of his advanced age at the time, the marriage to Howard made Henry feel more youthful, and consequently happier. When Henry discovered that Howard was flirting with one of his courtiers, he was devastated, and ordered her execution (“Henry VIII”). When Howard married Henry, by becoming his wife, she agreed to stay loyal to him, and only be in a relationship with him. By flirting, making advances and having relations with other men, she broke her promise to be faithful to Henry, leaving him understandably distressed. His anger and anguish towards the breaking of Howard’s promise of
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