| Study Guide for the book Kindred by Octavia
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STUDY GUIDE FOR THE BOOK KINDRED BY OCTAVIA E. BUTLER
Dana meets up with Carrie as she staggers back into the house. She tells
the mute woman that Rufus is no good, and that she should have left him
lying in the mud. Carrie vigorously shakes her head and mimes the idea
that if Rufus had died, his mother would be in charge and would have sold
all the slaves. Carrie finishes the conversation by rubbing her face.
Dana doesn’t understand what she means so they go to Nigel who tells Dana
that the gesture means the black never comes off. She is not white, no
matter what anyone says. She is black and good to her people.
Dana avoids Rufus for three days after the sale, and it’s easy, because
he avoids her, too. He finally finds her on the fourth day and makes her
allow Carrie to care for his mother. He has something else for her to
do. He has her bring one of the pens she had brought with her from the
future in her tote. He asks her if she has ever heard of dengue fever.
She has not, but Rufus says the doctor in town has diagnosed him with
it. She tells him not to put himself in the hands of the doctor or he
will solve all their problems. Rufus knows she means that they’d be better
off if he were dead. He asks her if she knows what would happen to the
people on the plantation if he died. Her answer is to ask him what will
happen to them if he lives. He changes the subject then to tell her that
he needs her to write some letters for him. He has even bought enough
paper to allow her to begin writing again. He knows from Kevin that Dana
is an author, and this is a gift to her. She asks Rufus if he’s going
to sell any more slaves. He answers that he hopes not, but that his father
left debts that have to be paid. Now he needs her to write some very persuasive
letters to the men his father owes.
Dana writes Rufus’ letters, and she never gets back full-time to Margaret Weylin. She does sleep with her at night to allow Carrie to go home to her family. One night, Margaret awakens her to ask why Rufus keeps Dana away. Dana tells her why, and she suspiciously responds that it is something Rufus could do himself. Dana thinks so, too, but she knows that Rufus just doesn’t like to work alone. One night, after he had been in town for a while, he comes back to find Dana and Alice eating together. When he sees them, he proclaims, “Behold the woman. You are really only one woman. Did you know that?” After he stumbles away, Dana expects Alice to laugh at him, but instead she asks Dana if she has ever gone to bed with Rufus. Dana responds vehemently that neither of them wants that. Alice says it’s good for her when Dana is there, because she gentles him, and he doesn’t hit her. She finally remarks that she understands what Rufus meant when he said the two of them are one woman: they look alike, and he likes Alice in bed and Dana out of bed. They’re two halves of the same woman in his crazy head.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on Kindred".
. 09 May 2017