Study Guide for Kindred by Octavia E. Butler Analysis Synopsis|
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KINDRED SUMMARY BOOK NOTES / STUDY GUIDE
Dana’s teaching finally gets her into trouble as she returns from Rufus’ room to the cookhouse to teach Nigel. Tom Weylin has still forbidden Dana to read on her own time, but he uses her reading to Rufus to keep the boy in line. Furthermore, the whole reading situation, while helping Rufus improve his own skills, creates even more tension between Dana and Margaret who tries to draw Rufus’ attention from Dana to her. He then talks back to his mother like a miniature example of his father. It worries Dana and foreshadows what is to come in her determination to help Nigel learn to read.
When Dana arrives at the cookhouse, Nigel is teaching letters to Carrie.
Carrie had refused to join the class, because Sarah feared it would make
Weylin sell her. So seeing her learning is a surprise to Dana. However,
when asked this time, Carrie nods a yes. Dana also warns Nigel about bringing
the books out of hiding in the kitchen where anyone can walk in and catch
them. She gives Nigel a test and he spells every word correctly; as she’s
praising Nigel and feeling proud of his accomplishments, she carefully
burns the test paper in the fireplace. Suddenly, the door opens again
and Tom Weylin enters very unexpectedly. Now, Dana knows she’s in for
a beating. Weylin is incensed that she has disobeyed him and declares
that she has stolen his books after he had been so kind to her. He drags
her out of the cookhouse as she calls out to Nigel to get Kevin. She never
sees where the horsewhip comes from. She only feels it fall again and
again until she can’t get up to escape it. Through her blurry eyesight
and sweat, as she vomits again and again, she sees Kevin running toward
her, trying desperately to reach her. It’s then she realizes that the
nausea and dizziness is the result of more than the beating. She’s going
back home, and Kevin must reach her to go, too. She passes out.
This chapter keeps Dana in the past for a longer time and this time, Kevin goes with her. The worrisome idea for Dana is that Kevin must be holding on to her in order to go home, too. Rufus has called Dana to him when he falls out of a tree and breaks his leg. The unnatural need Rufus feels for her begins on this second trip, and his clinging to her will bring her nothing but grief.
Even though Kevin feels they would be safer if they left, she makes him stay in order to make sure Rufus stays safe enough to father Dana’s ancestor. This will bring about the greatest grief of all: she returns to 1976 without Kevin who has no way home again until she is called back to get him.
Another important aspect of this chapter is the use of flashback. Dana explains how she met Kevin, how they fell in love, and why he comes to believe what happens to her with Rufus.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on Kindred".
. 09 May 2017