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Octavia E. Butler
MonkeyNotes Study Guide by Diane Clapsaddle
Reprinted with permission from TheBestNotes.com Copyright 2007, All Rights Reserved Distribution without the written consent of TheBestNotes.com is strictly prohibited.
KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS
This science-fiction novel is set in Altadena, California in (at the time of the writing, the present day day) 1976, and the fictional Weylin Plantation on the rural eastern shore of Maryland near Baltimore in the…..
Edana (Dana) Franklin - She is both the main character and the narrator of the story. She is a young black woman who is also a published writer. She and Kevin (her white husband) live in 1976, and have just purchased their first house together. Suddenly, Dana is pulled back into the past by a white ancestor in antebellum (or pre-civil war) Maryland, which was a slave state. How she copes with the task of preserving his life so her ancestor can be born brings the reader a unique view of life as a slave.
Rufus Weylin - He is Dana’s white ancestor who has grown up in the life of a slave owner. He is just a boy when he first calls Dana for her help to save his life, but she returns several times to see him grow into his twenties. He is a complex character who has an indelible need to possess two women: Dana and Alice.
Kevin Franklin - He is a white man married to a black woman in current day 1976, when such bi-racial unions were still somewhat rare, he is a totally devoted husband to Dana and also a published writer. At first, he has some problems believing what happened to Dana, but because he loves her, he accepts her strange tale of time travel. Eventually, he comes to believe it for real when he is accidentally pulled back in the past with Dana and remains there for five years before she returns for him.
Tom Weylin - He is Rufus’ father and according to Rufus, he is a fair man even if he isn’t likeable. He doesn’t hesitate to whip his slaves as punishment or to abide by all the rules of the ante-bellum South such as not educating slaves. However, he also keeps his word, once given, even to blacks, and……..
Many additional major and minor characters are identified in the complete study guide.
Protagonist - The protagonist is Dana Franklin, the young woman who is pulled into the past by her ancestor, Rufus Weylin. She is forced to learn to live as a slave and deal with Rufus’ obsessive behavior until such time as her ancestor and Rufus’ daughter, Hagar, is born.
Antagonists - The main antagonist is Rufus Weylin who calls Dana from the future to save his life when he is just a little boy. His obsessive behavior over the years that follow make him a danger not……
Climax - The climax occurs when Dana finally feels threatened enough by Rufus to kill him and….
Outcome - Rufus dies at Dana’s hand and she returns to Kevin in 1976, with one terrible consequence: she leaves part of her arm, where he was holding onto her, behind in the past. When she is well, she and her husband fly from California to Baltimore, Maryland, to see if they can uncover what happened……
SHORT PLOT SUMMARY (Synopsis)
Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is abruptly snatched from her home in California and transported to the ante-bellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, has summoned her across time to save him from drowning. After this first summons, she is drawn back, again and again, to protect Rufus and ensure he will grow to manhood and father the daughter who will...