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Study Guide for Kindred: Synopsis / Chapter Summary

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KINDRED: SYNOPSIS / CHAPTER SUMMARY

THE FIRE

Summary (Continued)

PART 3

Outside in the chilly night, Dana begins walking across the fields in search of Alice’s cabin. Rufus had told her two ways to get there: a shortcut of his own and the long way on the road. She tries the wood first, or the shortcut, because she fears meeting a white person on the road. However, eventually she goes back to the road, because of the sound of wild dogs and other unknown creatures. On the road, she walks for a while until she hears the sound of horses. She immediately hides in the underbrush, because paperless blacks were fair game for any white. The horses are carrying eight white men who enter the woods in the direction of Alice’s cabin. She gets up and follows them. They come to the cabin with Dana shadowing them, where they promptly knock on the door and then break it in. A naked man and woman are dragged out of the cabin, and the man is beaten for being out at night. A little girl in a nightgown scrambles into the brush just a few feet from Dana’s hiding place. The man claims to have a pass, but cannot produce it. The woman tries to cover herself in a blanket, but some of the whites tear it off her to humiliate her. The naked man is tied to a tree, and the whites produce a horsewhip to whip him savagely. Dana must hold her fear, her urge to vomit, and her trembling in order to protect herself, but she has never had to watch such violence before. She realizes that these are patrollers - young whites organized before the time of the KKK to maintain order among the slaves. Once the whipping ends, the patrollers tie the man’s hands and drag him home behind their horses. One of them whispers something to the woman, but evidently doesn’t like what he hears, because he punches her violently in the face before he mounts his horse and rides away. Dana wonders whether the captive man is one of Weylin’s slaves and whether the child who had hidden is Alice. She calls out the name Alice, and the child turns in her direction. Dana is relieved, because these are her ancestors, and they may be her refuge.

PART 4

Dana tells the child that she is a friend and goes to her mother who lies on the ground unconscious. Eventually the woman’s eyes open, and Dana reassures her that she is a friend, a free woman without papers who intends to stay free. Dana begs the woman to let her stay, because she thinks she can help her find her way north. In the course of the conversation, Dana tells her that only Rufus knows about her, which relieves the woman, who knows that Rufus won’t tell anyone anything. The woman tells Dana the man who was captured was her husband, but he was also a slave belonging to Judge Holman. The Judge won’t ever give him a pass, because Weylin wants him to take a woman from among his slaves so any child produced from the union will also belong to him. The woman declares that Weylin will never own a child of hers. Dana also tells her that she is from New York, a lie she feels compelled to tell, because California was nothing more than a colony in 1815. The woman believes someone carried Dana off, and Dana doesn’t correct her conclusion, but just says she is trying to find her way back to New York and her husband. Alice’s mother agrees to allow her to stay the night, and Dana goes outside again to retrieve the blanket the woman had been carrying.

Just as Dana bends to pick up the blanket, a man grabs her and swings her around. When she is uncooperative in answering his questions, he slaps her hard and declares that she could be the woman’s twin. He wonders as he holds her fast what she might be worth. When she suddenly is able to break his grasp on her, she runs for the cabin, but Alice’s mother bars the way and won’t allow her to come in. So Dana runs for the trees with the man in pursuit. He catches up with her, and they wrestle around on the ground. At one point, Dana has the chance to free herself by putting out his eyes, but she hesitates, and he imprisons her even tighter, beating her all the while. He throws her on the ground and tells her she has to pay for the scratches she put on his face. She realizes he’s one of the patrollers who had returned for Alice’s mother, but who figures now Dana will do just as well. Dana knows now that she has to lay quiet even as he rips her clothes from her body. She needs to lull him into thinking she’s giving in. He rears back to hit her again, and when she jerks her head away, she hits something that stuns her for just a moment. It is a large tree limb, which she manages to grab and slam against the stranger’s head. He falls unconscious or dead, and Dana tries to stand to run away. However, when she is halfway up, the now familiar nausea and dizziness set in, and she falls into a starless darkness.

PART 5

Dana awakens in pain with the blurry face of a man above her. Thinking it is the patroller, she panics and begins kicking, clawing, and biting to get away. Then, she hears his voice and knows that it is Kevin. She has returned home. She apologizes to him for thinking he was a patroller. Kevin tells her that she was gone two or three minutes that time, but she knew she had been gone for hours. Kevin then suggests that he take her to a hospital, but Dana refuses out of fear that she might disappear again, but this time not at home. Kevin fears that the patroller raped her, but before she slides into a deep sleep, Dana says she hit him with a stick and knocked him out before he could.

 

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Kindred by Octavia E. Butler: Synopsis / Chapter Summary


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