1. Both Dana and Kevin say several times that they can’t change history. What,
then, is the purpose of Dana’s travels back in time?
2. In what ways does Dana explode the slave stereotypes of “the house-nigger,
the handkerchief head, the female Uncle Tom”? In what way does she transcend
3. Dana tells Kevin when they discuss their experiences, “I never realized how easily people could be trained to accept slavery.” Do we in the 21st century still have conditioned responses to slavery?
4. Compare Tom and Rufus Weylin. Is Rufus an improvement over his father?
Has Dana had any influence or impact on the kind of man he becomes?
5. Why is it significant that Dana leaves her left arm in the past?
6. Butler has Kevin stay in the past much longer than Dana. Why would she
subject this character to this experience?
7. Butler obviously believes that tampering with the past would not disrupt
the present. How does this influence the movement of the narrative? How
does it convolute the idea of cause and effect?
8. Dana finds herself caught in the middle of the relationship between Rufus
and Alice. Why does Rufus use Dana to get to Alice? Does Alice also use
9. The needs and well-being of other residents of the plantation create
a web of obligation that is difficult to navigate. Choose a specific incident
and determine who holds power over whom; assess how it affects the situation.
10. Discuss the ways in which the title encapsulates the relationships within the novel. Is it ironic? Literal?
Metaphorical? What emphasis do we place on our kinship? How does it compare with that of the novel?
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on Kindred".
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