Study Guide for Kindred by Octavia E. Butler Analysis Synopsis

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STUDY GUIDE FOR KINDRED BY OCTAVIA E. BUTLER

OTHER ELEMENTS

IRONY

Another element that is important to note is irony - when something happens, or is seen, or is heard that we may know, but the characters do not, or that appears opposite of what is expected. Some examples of irony include:

1. Kevin makes an ironic comment that there are so many other fascinating times they could have gone back to visit. The irony comes from the idea that they had a choice. Actually, they were forced back by Rufus.

2. Dana 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. After all the precautions she takes, Dana is still caught teaching Nigel to read.

3. Ironically, Dana’s cousin, who sees her after she returns home from being beaten by Tom Weylin, believes that Kevin has beaten her, and the cousin is very disappointed that Dana allowed it.

4. Dana tells Alice that she can’t give her an answer about whether to sleep with Rufus as he demands, because it’s Alice’s body, not hers. Alice just weeps that it’s not her body at all, but Rufus’, because he has paid for it.

5. Dana asks Rufus why his father had written to Kevin. Rufus tells her that his father did it, because Rufus had given his word. His father is a man who cares as much about giving his word to a black man as he does to a white. Ironically, he wouldn’t hesitate to beat, sell, or kill this same black man.

6. Ironically, Dana is called back for the last time on the Fourth of July.

7. Dana’s arm is embedded into the plaster at the exact spot where Rufus’ fingers had grasped. Ironically, he keeps at least a part of her with him forever.

 

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