Kindred Analysis

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Holly Socially Acceptable Is Not Always Right In the novel Kindred (1979), Octavia Butler ubiquitously uses Dana’s thoughts about slavery and how slaves let themselves be treated to show how society can mold and change a person’s thoughts on a subject. As Dana delves deeper into the culture of the 1800s antebellum South she is transported back into, her views on slavery begin to change from those of opposition to ones of indifference and finally to acceptance. This is a shocking view of how society can subtly sneak into people’s lives and change their opinions about something they once felt so strongly about. With this, Butler is warning readers to be careful about accepting ideals that society deems as correct because they are not always right. When readers are introduced to Dana, she is portrayed as a modern, strong black woman. She is a writer instead of one of the more appropriate jobs for women at the time (like a secretary or nurse). Also, she falls in love with and marries a white man even though neither of their families approve, and she stands her ground when she doesn’t want to do something. The book describes an instance when Kevin wants Dana to type some things up for him and she “refused” (Butler 109). She didn’t do anything that she didn’t want to do, something that readers are to admire about her. For instance, the second time she is transported back into Rufus’ time, he calls her a “nigger” (Butler 25), which she readily takes offense to and has no problem correcting him. “’I’m a black woman, Rufe. If you have to call me something other than my name, that’s it,’” (Butler 25). Through this scene, Butler shows readers that Dana wasn’t going to just stand by and let herself be called such an atrocious name, even if Rufus was just doing what society deemed as acceptable. She was incredibly opposed to how blacks were treated at that time and
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