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Reading Response: Kindred

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Topics: Time travel, Time, Future
Timothy Kramer | Literature & Composition | January 10, 2013
Timothy Kramer | Literature & Composition | January 10, 2013
Reading Response
Kindred
Reading Response
Kindred

LT02 Summarize the Text
In Olivia Butler's novel, Kindred, an African American woman, Dana, is unexpectedly pulled back to the Slave Era where she struggles to face the inequalities that existed at that time. After moving into her new apartment with her newly wedded husband, Dana is unexpectedly pulled back in time to finds herself in 1800, Maryland where she sees Rufus drowning in a river. After rescuing the young white boy, she is then terrified by the father of the boy, threating to take her life, which literally scares her back to the future.
It didn’t take very long for another dizzying time travel phenomenon to occur this time, she is pulled back to 1815. She finds Rufus watching his curtains. Dana quickly puts out the fire, talks to Rufus about it, and escapes from the house before Weylin, Rufus’s father, finds her. Dana goes to Alice’s house because she believes that she is an ancestor. Before she was able to arrive at the cabin, a group of white men break down the door whips Alice’s and beat him. They also beat Alice’s mother. After the men leave, Dana comes out from where she was hiding and helps out. When Dana leaves, a white man finds her, beats her, and attempts to rape her... Following with another dizzying effect, where she is returned home to her own time... Thirty minutes later of course.
The next time Dana time travels, Kevin comes with. Back at the plantation, Rufus has broken his leg. Rufus refuses to let Dana leave, so everyone returns to the house together. Kevin and Dana stay on the plantation for a while, But when Dana gets caught teaching Nigel to read, Weylin whips her. Dana receives the "oh so familiar" dizziness and is returned to her normal timeline… without Kevin. After about a week of Dana impatiently waiting and preparing for another infamous dizzying, time travel, extravaganza, she is transported back to 1820 in a forest not far from the plantation. Rufus had gotten into a fight with Isaac, Alice's newly wedded husband, because he had raped her and wants her all to himself. Dana tells Isaac to leave Rufus alone and run away with Alice. Alice and Isaac are caught. After Rufus doesn’t mail her letters to Kevin, who has gone way up north, she tries and fails to escape the plantation, she is punished for her “crimes” and “earns” a whipping. Kevin shows up, and they both escape, were they escape a near death by time traveling back to the future.
When Dana time travels back to the plantation, she learns that Rufus has sold Alice’s children. Alice soon after kills herself. Rufus attempts to commit suicide as a result. A few days following the “incident” Rufus confesses his “love” for her. She leaves planning to cut her wrists in order to get home, but Rufus follows her and attempts to rape her. Dana stabs him twice with her knife, killing him. She returns home immediately. Her arm is severed and crushed in the spot where Rufus was holding it. Wrapping the ending that was expressed in the prologue of the book.
LT10 Expand Beyond the Text
Education is one of the most important opportunities that we could possibly have. In the Olivia Butlers novel, Kindred, it is expressed this opportunity is not available for African Americans back in the 1800’s. Dana is constantly reminded and criticized because of this due to her superior knowledge from the 1970’s. This is expressed as a good thing expressing the fact that we have overcome our past inequalities and allowed this supreme opportunity, but this is only true in a few select countries. This opportunity has not expanded across the states to individuals that reside in third world countries due to extreme poverty. To them, this opportunity is a virtue they cannot afford, in fact it’s looked upon as a privilege that only a select few can experience. Back in the 1800’s, being a African American woman with knowledge was strange and unfamiliar to the people of that time, Which has indeed improved but not at all for what it could be.

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