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Study Guide for Kindred by Octavia E. Butler Analysis Synopsis

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KINDRED LITERATURE NOTES

THE FIGHT

Summary (Continued)

PART 16

Dana soon goes back to work with Sarah and Carrie and has a few days of peace. Then, she runs up against Jake Edwards who orders her to do the wash, because Tess is being sent to the fields. When Dana says she’s not supposed to, Edwards threatens to whip her again, and Dana finds herself dealing with the difficult work. Her back begins to ache dully, and she feels dully ashamed. Slavery is a long slow process of dulling.

Suddenly, a white man with a gray beard and covered in dust comes riding around the side of the main house towards them. It is Kevin at last! It’s all she can do to allow him to embrace her with her badly whipped back. When he realizes why, he acts as if he is determined to make Rufus pay. However, Dana calms him down when she convinces him that she will be punished for whatever he does. She looks him over and sees that he looks ten years older than when she saw him last, while Alice stood by looking grief-stricken, knowing that Dana’s husband is home, but hers never will be. Kevin takes Dana by the arm, telling her that it’s been five years since he’s seen her. They need to leave now and put the Weylin Plantation behind them.


They meet Rufus on the road, and in the space of a few minutes, he trains his rifle on them. Dana looks him in the eye and tells him that he had better shoot her first, because if he kills Kevin, she’ll kill him. He replies that there is no need to talk about killing. Instead, he thinks his daddy might want to talk to them about Dana’s board and keep for all the time Kevin was gone. Dana refuses to give in again to his blackmail, and even though Kevin acts as if they should go back, she grabs the horse’s reins as if to leave once again. Rufus screams that she’s not leaving him. At that moment, she realizes that Rufus really is prepared to kill her. She drops to the ground, and the familiar nausea and dizziness begin. She screams for Kevin, and just in time, he lands heavily on her back, and they disappear again.


Notes

This chapter serves to reinforce the growing obsessive love that Rufus feels for both Alice and Dana. Dana has returned to find Kevin after Rufus calls her in the middle of a fight he is having with a slave. Even though she protects him once more, she comes to realize that he can’t let go of those he loves, even if he has to hurt them to keep them. She bides her time there waiting for Kevin, but unable to watch Rufus lie and cheat to get what he wants. She endures another beating as a result and prays daily for Kevin to find her.

Another important aspect of this chapter involves the idea that slavery comes eventually to be accepted by slaves, because they fear the alternative. Even Dana herself begins to believe she does not have the courage to run again for freedom.

 

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