A Metaphorical View into Kindred
In Kindred by Octavia Butler, Dana is subject to many different wounds all over her body; the more involved Dana becomes in the story the more damaging the wounds are to her everyday function. These wounds, their severity, and their position represent certain emotional and mental scars in Dana made by her travels into the 1800’s.The most severe of these wounds and the bait of the novel, since it is the opening chapter and I am awaiting for this scene throughout the book, is the losing of her left arm. Losing such a vital part of one’s body can be devastating and for some this can be an unsurpassable obstacle, but for Dana is a reminder of her travels, her new found knowledge, and her family’s roots. Dana’s arm being ripped off is the first thing that the reader sees in the novel, but we really don’t know where, why, or how all of this happened. Obviously this is a very graphic and disturbing image and it is a good beginning to a wonderful novel such as this one but the reader needs to learn that this wasn’t the first and only injury, but rather the last and most hurtful of many. After the scene in the hospital the reader is taken to the beginning, which is when she first travels back to the 1800’s. The reason that she traveled back was because Rufus, her ancestor, was drowning so she jumped in, brought him to land, and revived him, as she was doing this Margret, Rufus’s mother, was hitting her back. When she went back to the 1900’s she noticed that Margret had left bruises on her back and shoulders. She described coming back from the past and being hit for saving a child’s life as “…being like a victim of a robbery or rape or something—a victim who survives, but who doesn’t feel safe anymore” (17). From this point on in the novel Dana is always unsure of her safety and of her future even when she is in her home. Her back being hurt symbolizes her “backbone” or “home plate” being damaged from this...
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