Kindred as a Science Fiction Essay

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Final Kindred Paper The use of the science fiction genre in Octavia Butler’s Kindred immerses the reader in the world of the antebellum south and lends more depth to the entire experience that could not have been found through the use of any other genre, including simple straightforward historical textbooks. This greater understanding of history is achieved by contrasting Dana, a modern black woman from the year of 1976, with the southern past she is thrown into. Dana is taken back to the south through the science fiction staple of time travel, and rather than undermining the story, the contrast between the present day Dana and her surroundings turn the south into a “character” that she interacts with throughout the novel. If readers of Kindred can suspend their disbelief as they flip through the pages they will benefit from Dana’s first-hand perspective that is influenced by her modern ideas, something that could not be gained from a third-person summary found in a textbook. Furthermore, one may come to the conclusion that perhaps Octavia Butler’s style of revisiting history through a different genre than the usual historical narrative can lead to a deeper understanding of the time period itself. Elaborating on the use of time travel, Butler utilizes Dana as the main vessel connecting both the past and present, and in doing so the reader is able to use Dana’s observations and thoughts about the world around her to mirror their own questions. For instance, Robert Crossley in his “Critical Essay” in Kindred writes that Octavia Butler’s main achievement in using Dana as her main character is the fact that she sees “individual slaves as people rather than as encrusted literary or sociological types” (270). Without the time travel aspect of the plot and the contrast it provides, the reader would not be able to see through Dana’s eyes the reality of slavery. In fact

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