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He shares a few details of his life in the past with Dana: he witnessed terrible atrocities against slaves, traveled farther up north, worked as a teacher, helped slaves escape, and grew a beard to disguise himself from a lynch mob. Deciding to let him work his feelings out for himself, Dana packs a bag in case she time travels again. Soon enough she finds herself outside the Weylin plantation house in a rainstorm, with a very drunk Rufus lying face down in a puddle. She tries to drag him back to the house, then gets Nigel to help her carry him.

Back at the house, an aged Weylin appoints Dana to nurse Rufus back to health under threat of her life. Suspecting Rufus has malaria and knowing she cannot help much, Dana feeds Rufus the aspirin she has packed to lower his fever. Rufus survives, but remains weak for weeks. Dana learns that Rufus and Alice have had three mixed-race children of the plantation and that only one, a boy named Joe, has survived.

Alice is pregnant again. Rufus had forced Alice to let the doctor bleed the other two when they had fallen ill, a customary treatment of the time , but it killed them. Weylin has a heart attack and, when Dana is unable to save his life, Rufus sends her to work in the corn fields as punishment. By the time he repents his decision, she has collapsed from exhaustion and is being whipped by the overseer.

Rufus appoints Dana as the caretaker of his ailing mother, Margaret. Now the master of the plantation, Rufus sells off some slaves, including Tess, Weylin's former concubine. Dana expresses her anger about that sale, and Rufus explains that his father left debts he must pay. He convinces Dana to use her writing talent to stave off his other creditors.


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Dana abhors secretarial work, and had argued with Kevin about his asking her to type his manuscripts. Time passes and Alice gives birth to a girl, Hagar, a direct ancestor of Dana.

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Alice confides that she plans to run away with her children as soon as possible, as she fears that she is forgetting to hate Rufus. Dana convinces Rufus to let her teach his son Joe and some of the slave children how to read. However, when a slave named Sam asks Dana if his younger siblings can join in on the lessons, Rufus sells him away as punishment for flirting with her. When Dana tries to interfere, Rufus hits her. Faced with her own powerlessness over Rufus, she retrieves the knife she has brought from home and slits her wrists in an effort to time travel.

Dana awakens back at home with her wrists bandaged and Kevin by her side. She tells him of her eight months in the plantation, of Hagar's birth, and of the need to keep Rufus alive, as the slaves would be separated and sold if he died. When Kevin asks if Rufus has raped Dana, she responds that he has not, that a rape attempt would be the act that would cause her to kill him, despite the possible consequences. Fifteen days later, on the 4th of July , Dana returns to the plantation where she finds that Alice has hanged herself.

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Alice attempted to run away after Dana disappeared, and as punishment Rufus whipped her and told her that he had sold her children. In reality, he had sent to them to stay with his aunt in Baltimore. Racked with guilt about Alice's death, Rufus nearly commits suicide.

Epilogue: Time Machine Chronicles By Jaime V Batista

From that moment on, Rufus keeps Dana at his side almost constantly, having her share meals and teach his children. One day, he finally admits that he wants Dana to replace Alice in his life. He says that unlike Alice, who, despite growing used to Rufus, never stopped plotting to escape him, Dana will see that he is a fair master and eventually stop hating him. Dana, horrified at the thought of forgiving Rufus in this way, flees to the attic to find her knife.

Rufus follows her there, and when he attempts to rape her, Dana stabs him twice with her knife. Nigel arrives to see Rufus's death throes, at which point Dana becomes terribly sick and time travels home for the last time, only to find herself in excruciating pain, as her arm has been joined to a wall in the spot where Rufus was holding it.

Epilogue Dana and Kevin travel to Baltimore to investigate the fate of the Weylin plantation after the death of Rufus, but they find very little; a newspaper notice reporting Rufus's death as a result of his house catching fire, and a Slave Sale announcement listing all the Weylin slaves except Nigel, Carrie, Joe, and Hagar. Dana speculates that Nigel covered up the murder by starting the fire, and feels responsible for the sale of the slaves.

To that, Kevin responds that she cannot do anything about the past, and now that Rufus is finally dead, they can return to their peaceful life together. Kindred was written to explore how a modern black woman would experience the time of a slavery society, where most black people were considered as property; a world where "all of society was arrayed against you. Concluding that "there probably is no more vivid depiction of life on an Eastern Shore plantation than that found in Kindred ," Sandra Y.

Govan traces how Butler's book follows the classic patterns of the slave narrative genre: loss of innocence, harsh punishment, strategies of resistance, life in the slave quarters, struggle for education, experience of sexual abuse, realization of white religious hypocrisy, and attempts to escape, with ultimate success. In Kindred , Butler portrays individual slaves as distinctive people, giving each his or her own story. Robert Crossley argues that Butler treats the blackness of her characters as "a matter of course", to resist the tendency of white writers to incorporate African Americans into their narratives just to illustrate a problem or to divorce themselves from charges of racism.

Thus, in Kindred the slave community is depicted as a "rich human society": the proud yet victimized freewoman -turned-slave Alice; Sam the field slave , who hopes Dana will teach his brother; the traitorous sewing woman Liza, who frustrates Dana's escape; the bright and resourceful Nigel, Rufus's childhood friend who learns to read from a stolen primer; most importantly, Sarah the cook, who Butler transforms from an image of the submissive, happy " mammie " of white fiction to a deeply angry yet caring woman subdued only by the threat of losing her last child, the mute Carrie.

I said nothing.


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I was beginning to realize that he loved the woman— to her misfortune. There was no shame in raping a black woman, but there could be shame in loving one. But she kept saying no. I could have had her in the bushes years ago if that was all I wanted. Pamela Bedore notes that while Rufus seems to hold all the power in his relationship with Alice, she never wholly surrenders to him.

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Alice's suicide can be read as her way of ending her struggle with Rufus with a "final upsetting of their power balance", an escape through death. The master does not simply control the slave but depends on her. A slave who collaborates with the master to survive is not reduced to a "traitor to her race" or to a "victim of fate. Kindred portrays the exploitation of black female sexuality as a main site of the historic struggle between master and slave. Diana Paulin describes Rufus's attempts to control Alice's sexuality as a means to recapture power he lost when she chose Isaac as her sexual partner.

Similarly, Dana's time traveling reconstructs her sexuality to fit the times. While in the present, Dana chooses her husband and enjoys sex with him; in the past, her status as a black female forced her to subordinate her body to the desires of the master for pleasure, breeding, and as sexual property. Scholarship on Kindred often touches on its critique of the official history of the formation of the United States as an erasure of the raw facts of slavery. Lisa Yaszek places Kindred as emanating from two decades of heated discussion over what constituted American history, with a series of scholars pursuing the study of African-American historical sources to create "more inclusive models of memory.

The power of this national holiday to erase the grim reality of slavery is negated by Dana's living understanding of American history, which makes all her previous knowledge of slavery through mass media and books inadequate. Instead, Dana reads books about the Holocaust and finds these books to be closer to her experiences as a slave. In several interviews, Butler has mentioned that she wrote Kindred to counteract stereotypical conceptions of the submissiveness of slaves. While studying at Pasadena City College , Butler heard a young man from the Black Power Movement express his contempt for older generations of African-Americans for what he considered their shameful submission to white power.

Butler realized the young man did not have enough context to understand the necessity to accept abuse just to keep oneself and one's family alive and well. Thus, Butler resolved to create a modern African-American character, who would go back in time to see how well he Butler's protagonist was originally male could withstand the abuses his ancestors had suffered. Therefore, Dana's memories of her enslavement, as Ashraf A. Rushdy explains, become a record of the "unwritten history" of African-Americans, a "recovery of a coherent story explaining Dana's various losses.

Kindred reveals the repressed trauma slavery caused in America's collective memory of history. Paulin arguing that it symbolizes Kevin's changing understanding of racial realities, which constitute "a painful and intellectual experience. The construction of the concept of "race" and its connections to slavery are central themes in Butler's novel. Mark Bould and Sherryl Vint place Kindred as a key science fiction literary text of the s and s black consciousness period, noting that Butler uses the time travel trope to underscore the perpetuation of past racial discrimination into the present and, perhaps, the future of America.

The novel's focus on how the system of slavery shapes its central characters dramatizes society's power to construct raced identities. The reader witnesses the development of Rufus from a relatively decent boy allied to Dana to a "complete racist" who attempts to rape her as an adult. Kindred also challenges the fixity of "race" through the interracial relationships that form its emotional core.

Dana's kinship to Rufus disproves America's erroneous concepts of racial purity. The negative reactions of characters in the past and the present to Dana and Kevin's integrated relationship highlight the continuing hostility of both white and black communities to interracial mixing.

At the same time, the relationship of Dana and Kevin extends to concept of "community" from people related by ethnicity to people related by shared experience.


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  7. The depiction of Dana's white husband, Kevin, also serves to examine the concept of racial and gender privilege. You two at a young age seem to know yourselves very well.

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