Writers utilize their literary abilities as a tool to create a piece of work that transmits a meaningful message that will create an impact on their audience. This is the case of Octavia Butler’s Kindred, a historical science-fiction novel evolving around a twenty six year old woman named Dana who lives in Los Angeles during 1976. What makes the story unique is the fact that the plot alternates between the past and the present as Dana travels through time from the commodity of her house in 1976 Los Angeles to Maryland during the antebellum period. The catalyst for these trips to the past is the near death experiences of the son of rich southern planter, a boy named Rufus Weylein, who is one of Dana’s ancestors. Every single time Rufus is put in a situation where he fears for his life, Dana is summoned to the past in order to save Rufus’ life in order for her
Dana and Rufus’s Relationship Ever wonder what it's like to have a changing relationship with a plantation owner's son back in the 1800’s? Dana Franklin is a younger African-American woman married to Kevin Franklin who is a middle-aged man. Dana travels from California in 1976 back to the early 1800’s whenever Rufus is in trouble. Rufus is a plantation owner son and is also the father of Dana’s ancestor. Dana’s travels are random; she gets lightheaded and dizzy when she is about to travel.
“People are much deeper than stereotypes. That is the first place our minds go. Then you get to know them and you hear their stories, and you say, 'I'd have never guessed.'” A quote by Carson Kressley which perfectly explains the relationship between our two main characters Dana and Rufus in Octavia Butler’s Kindred. In Octavia Butler’s Kindred people’s relationships are more complicated than stereotypes suggest them to be.
"There are two kinds of people who have genuinely pure spirits; children and the characters found in Robert Olen Butler's fiction” (par. 1-2). This quote, from Wendy Wallace’s Fear.com article, exemplifies how Butler’s characters were visualized as innocent. Wallace’s observation can be seen as problematic when Butler’s characters are compared to children; they are seen as pure even though they lived complex lives. This kind of mannerism is portrayed because the characters are immigrants, resulting in their sense of innocence.
One traumatic moment. One horrifying event. That is all it takes to alter a life. Trauma is when the mind’s coping mechanism becomes too overwhelmed by shocking events, to be able to process anything else (Walker 317). In Kindred, by Octavia Butler, the female, Black, protagonist, Dana, undergoes a series of traumatic events as she travels back in time to the 1800s – a period of slavery in America.
Octavia Butler is well known for having a variety of unconventional themes within her novels and short stories. Butler is one of the first female writers in the feminist science fiction genre, as well as, one of the few African-American women writers in the science fiction genre itself. Her novel Kindred published in 1979, is prime example of the unique and distinct perspective Butler brings to the genre; it is a blend of a neo-slave narrative and feminist science fiction. This blend of themes demonstrates the purpose of feminist science fiction itself: to reconstruct ideas of gender, sex, history, and ideas of the female body. Kindred is also used as a mechanism to defy and reconstruct the science fiction genre by using a female as a main character, redefining dystopias in the science fiction genre, and challenging masculinity of science fiction.
The central character in the novel Kindred by Octavia Butler is Dana, an African American woman who lives in Los Angeles, California. Throughout the novel, Dana travels through time multiple times to pre-Civil War Maryland. Readers first witness Dana being transported when she is assisting a young boy in a river bank in Los Angeles. In the instance Dana is met with the re-memory of her ancestors. As she is transported back to the South, she arrives every time to save the life of a younger white boy who is named Rufus Weylin.
This literary analysis will be of Octavia Butler’s Fledgling, exploring the role of lead character, Shori Matthews, who is both the narrator and protagonist of this captivating novel. The question being examined is whether or not the voice of the hybrid, genetically modified vampire, Shori Matthews, comes across as reliable, or unreliable to the reader. In the first chapter, Shori identifies only as a person, but through her quest to find out her true identity, it is later the reader learns she is actually a vampire. Can a vampire be thought of as a reliable, dependable source, capable of being taken at face value? Shori begins, “I awoke to darkness.”
In his story, “Descent into the Maelstrom”, Edgar Allen Poe writes of an old fisherman who claims to have gone through the monstrous whirlpool, “Moskoe-strom,” lasting the duration of 6 hours. The fisherman acts as a guide to the narrator as he leads him up the mountain Helseggen, where the old fisherman tells him the story of how his hair turned grey in a day. It might be argued, though, that this story was nothing short of a tall tale. There are numerous points in this his story that indicate the old man might be lying. How could his hair turn grey in a day?
When Richard Wright was fighting to go north, he was struggling to get away from was a hate filled South, where he never seemed to be able to escape the laughter and malice of white people. In his autobiography, Black Boy, Richard Wright describes his fight to survive and his want for knowledge. In Richard’s life, white people dictate how he acts and speaks. He has the desire to get away, and his only ally in getting him there is his passion for reading and writing. Becoming increasingly aware of the racism around him, Richard continues to fight for his journey north.
Using time travel, Octavia Butler creates a new view of racism in her novel, Kindred, by having Dana experience the life of a slave from an outsider's perspective. Though Dana’s present is far from a race utopia, it has drastically improved the problems of the past. In the past, Dana is surprised to find herself growing used to the injustices which surround her. Overall, traveling gives Dana first-hand experience at how slavery warped slaves’ perception of freedom.
Feminism: Viewing feminism from all aspects From the following classic definition of a “feminist” by believing the idea of equality, there is an added responsibility of delivering the idea, convincing people, and helping people realize the occurrence of feminism. Being a feminist by any means is not an easy task. As the idea of feminism is rapidly developing across the globe, it refers to various questions, misconceptions, and sometimes extreme detestation directed towards the feminists. Society still doesn’t understand the essence of feminism, and the true meaning of it. Some believe that a feminist fight for women's equality, while others believe that women should be able to fulfill their highest potential.
For centuries, men and women have abided by the strict gender roles set forth by society. In her piece Bloodchild, Octavia Butler goes against gender norms set forth by society in an inverse way. Butler wanted to experiment with the notion of a man bearing children. The impregnation of a man shows the reversal of male and female roles. The process of implantation involving an alien female and human male leads to the switch in power dynamics between the two genders.