Study Guide for Kindred by Octavia E. Butler Analysis Synopsis|
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KINDRED: ONLINE NOTES - CHAPTER SUMMARY
As Dana leaves the room, she meets up with Tom Weylin who has obviously
been eaves-dropping. He questions her about reading to Rufus and asks
her about her age and the year she was born. She is ready for his questions,
knowing all along that she could be tripped up by white people in 1819.
He also wonders why she has never had any children, and yet she is 26
years old. Then, he surprises her by offering the teaching position to
her. She realizes though that he wants to buy her, and in order for her
to teach Rufus, she would have to be one of his own slaves. Dana’s only
comment is that such a decision would be up to Mr. Franklin, not to her.
He tells her as he walks away that she will live to regret any decision
to stay with Kevin.
As the days pass, Dana gets into the habit of being extra careful after Mr. Weylin’s comment. She plays the role of a slave to the hilt, minding her manners out of fear as to what she might be able to get away with. One day, she, along with the rest of the slaves, is called over to the slave cabins to witness Tom Weylin whipping a field hand for talking back to him. It makes her aware that she may be walking a thin line to the whipping post herself. Nonetheless, she moves into Kevin’s room and makes sure she has jobs that involve moving in and out of that room frequently. It is her way to keep a little of 1976 with her.
Several days later, however, Margaret Weylin discovers another reason to dislike Dana. She corners Dana in the library and asks where she had slept the night before. After Dana admits that she had slept in Kevin’s room, the woman viciously slaps her and calls her a filthy black whore. She also threatens to have her removed to the quarters, because she will not have her in her house. It occurs to Dana that Margaret is just a little afraid of her. Fortunately, the woman makes no move against her. She just continues to make daily life miserable for any of the slaves who come into her presence. This fact does not help her fear of Tom Weylin, who she analyzes as a man who understands his “duties” as the master of a plantation. He would whip her if he thought she needed it.
Dana walks into the cookhouse and listens to Sarah and Carrie speak, trying to fight her way through their accents and learn something about the lives they lived. They are preparing her to survive, even though they don’t know it. Sarah also speaks up for Dana to the other slaves and warns the younger woman to be careful not to make her out a liar. She admits as well that she hates Margaret Weylin so much, because it was the white woman’s idea to sell her children so she could have items that are more decorative for her home. She has spoken up in favor of Dana to Tom Weylin as well. She knows that Weylin wants to buy Dana and that Miss Margaret doesn’t want her there. She tells Dana that she needs to move back into the attic, because of Margaret’s hatred of her. Her final suggestion is that Dana should get Franklin to free her now, while she’s still young and pretty.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on Kindred".
. 12 May 2008