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Kindred

By collegebound54 Feb 18, 2013 765 Words
In the science fiction novel, Kindred by Octavia Butler, Butler writes about a modern black woman Dana and how she travels back to the antebellum South every time her ancestor needs help. Fiction writing that deals often playfully and periodically, with the nature of fiction, the techniques and conventions used in it, and the role of the author therefore metafiction applies because throughout the story it deals with the writing of fiction or conventions of fiction. Now in our modern daytime it is used more common but Butler approached her task exquisitely. There are many examples where she deals with fiction about fiction, which includes the books she mentions, how slaves are not allowed to read nor write in the antebellum South, and the mirror image of Dana and the author herself.

One of the books she mentions is The Second Book of King’s where Rufus’s mother explains how Dana saved his life by the river. "Where Elisha breathed into the dead are boy mouth, and the boy came back to life. Mama said she tried to stop you when she saw you doing that to me because you were just some nigger she had never seen before. Then she remembers second Kings,"(24). Robinson Crusoe gets mentioned when Rufus asks Dana to read to him while his leg is injured. The book is about a black man being on a slave-trade voyage after being shipwrecked. This reflects on Dana because she travels back in time to come and rescue an ancestor and ordered to work at the Weylin's place. " As a kind of castaway myself, I was happy to escape into the fictional world of someone else's trouble," (86). Therefore, Butler must have put this to perplex what slaves had been through. " I read books about slavery, fiction and nonfiction. I read everything I had in the house that was even distantly related to the subject --- even Gone with the Wind, or part of it,"(116). Reading books to make time fly, Dana reads every book she has. “Like the Nazis, antebellum whites had known quite a bit about torture--quite a bit more than I ever wanted to learn,"(117). Although the time of world war two--the Holocaust and the whites were two different time periods they both knew what torture and punishment too another race was. All in all, Dana mentions quite a few books to sight a point in what she is conveying.

In the antebellum South, no blacks are allowed to read or write. If they were to get caught, they would be brutally punished or even get their hand cut off. As for Dana, she didn't get tortured as much as another black would have. " Only my memory of the whip kept me still,"(93). For blacks it is brutal to become free because they have to show that they’re free by having free papers. " In town, once, I heard a man brag how he and his friends had caught a free black, tore up his papers, and sold him to a trader,"(139). In this site, despising the fact that you own papers the whites don't care they will tear them and make you a slave once more. "But there stood Tom Weylin staring at me. 'I treated you good;' said Weylin quietly, ‘and you pay me back by stealing from me! Stealing my books! Reading!' Weylin dragged me a few feet,...hard. I never saw where the whip came from,...the first blow. But it came-- like a hot iron across my back, burning into me through my light shirt searing my skin..."(106-107). here once more Dana gets caught reading and teaching others to read.

There is a reflection between Octavia Butler and Dana because Kindred are Butler's novels but Dana is the character in the book that is also writing a novel. Dana is unraveling between the twentieth century and the nineteenth century and how different people are. Like the author who is writing about a hypothetical time traveling back to the past and the difference of racial conflict. “I played the slave, minded my manners probably more than I had to because I wasn't sure what I could get away with. Not much; as it turned out,"(191). The way Kindred is assembled helps the reader understand between the reality and fantasy. Also the concept of how time was back in the early eighteen hundreds and nineteen seventy-six. In the long run people will be writing about writing reading about reading just like how she did in this novel.

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