violence in kindred

Better Essays
Arad Levytan
ENG4U
Mr. Patrick
August 7th, 2015
Is the Violence in Kindred Necessary? In modern society, violence is unquestionably looked down upon. With any type of inhumane abuse, there is a strict set of laws in place to protect victims. However, this was not always the case. In Octavia Butler’s book Kindred, she does not hesitate in intensely describing the unjust and violent exploitation of power by white people against blacks within the 1800’s. Even more so, she uses violence as a dominant theme throughout the entire novel. As always, a sensitive topic like full out physical abuse is hard to handle for some readers, and that makes people question whether the prevalent violent theme in Kindred was truly necessary. Without violence, the novel would never of become such an accurate and view changing story. In fact, removing the violence in the book would of toned down reality and created a misrepresentation of historical fact. The necessity of violence in Kindred was to accurately educate the reader about the never ending abuse which blacks were forced to submit themselves too during the early 1800’s, and without it the novel would of been nothing more than pure fiction. In 19th century North America, white men held the highest socio-economic status, and had absolute authority over their “inferior” counterparts. Due to this power, society gave them every right to abuse African Americans and make them into slaves, effectively stripping them of all human rights and making violence towards blacks socially acceptable. Unfortunately, not only was it socially acceptable to abuse your slaves, but a slavemaster would be looked down upon if he did not. In Kindred, Tom Weylin shows his authority through regular whippings of slaves. When a field hand responded rudely, “Weylin ordered the man stripped naked and tied to the trunk of a dead tree...Suddenly, he brought the whip down across the slave’s back” (Butler 92). This quote shows how if any slave questioned his



Cited: Butler, Octavia E. Kindred. Boston: Beacon, 2003. Print

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