Study Guide for Kindred by Octavia E. Butler Analysis Synopsis

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The following quotations are important at various points in the story.
(Beacon Press, 1979):

1. “ ‘I don’t have a name for the thing that happened to me, but I don’t feel safe any more.’ “

(pg. 17; Dana has just returned from her first time travel and now feels unsafe for the first time in her life.)

2. “Fact then: Somehow, my travels crossed time as well as distance. Another fact: The boy was the focus of my travels - perhaps the cause of them.”

(pg. 24; Dana comes to this conclusion after she returns to Rufus for the second time.)

3. “The boy already knew more about revenge than I did. What kind of man was he going to grow up into?”

(pg. 25; Here Dana makes an observation about Rufus during the second visit to save him.)

4. “Was that why I was here? Not only to insure the survival of one accident-prone small boy, but to insure my family’s survival, my own birth.”

(pg. 29; This is Dana’s observation when she discovers Rufus is a Weylin, a name that was written in her own family Bible.)

5. “ . . . most of the people around Rufus know more about real violence than the screenwriters of today ever will.”

(pg. 48; This is Dana’s way of explaining to Kevin why she has to find a way to protect herself while she’s there.)

6. “ . . . You did almost come home. Your fear almost sent you home.”

(pg. 50; This is Kevin’s assertion that she can use her fear to help her travel through time.)

7. “He was like me - a kindred spirit crazy enough to keep on trying.”

(pg. 57; This is one of Dana’s first observations about Kevin and what makes her come to love him.)

8. “I realized that I knew less about loneliness than I thought - and much less than I would know when he went away.”

(pg. 57; These words show how much Kevin came to mean to Dana especially after he was lost in the past.)

9. “Time travel was science fiction in nineteen seventy-six. In eighteen nineteen - Rufus was right - it was sheer insanity.”

(pg. 63; Here Dana realizes that trying to explain what has happened to her, Kevin, and Rufus is almost impossible to understand.)

10. “ ‘You’re gambling with history.’ “

(pg. 83; Kevin makes this observation when Dana insists on staying near Rufus even though his parents are dangerous.)

11. “I never realized how easily people could be trained to accept slavery.”

(pg. 101; Dana makes this observation after she sees slave children play-acting a slave auction.)

12. “Today and yesterday didn’t mesh. I felt almost as strange as I had after my first trip back to Rufus - caught between his home and mine.”

(pg. 115; Here Dana comments on how disorienting it is to return to 1976, when she seems to have spent weeks in 1819.)

13. “I was beginning to realize that he loved the woman - to her misfortune. There was no shame in raping a black woman, but there could be shame in loving one.”

(pg. 124; Dana concludes this after she arrives in the past to find that Rufus has raped Alice and tried to kill her husband Isaac.)

14. “Repressive societies always seemed to understand the danger of ‘wrong’ ideas.”

(pg. 141; This thought of Dana’s comes when Rufus forces her to burn the history book on slavery.)

15. “ . . . the house-nigger, the handkerchief-head, the female Uncle Tom - the frightened powerless woman who had already lost all she could stand to lose, and who knew as little about freedom of the North as she knew about the hereafter. “

(pg. 145; This is Dana’s description of Sarah who doesn’t have the courage to leave her bondage.)

16. “He had already found the way to control me - by threatening others.”

(pg. 169; This comment shows how little freedom Dana really has in Rufus’ household.)

17. “See how easily slaves are made?”

(pg. 177; Dana thinks this after she realizes that she might not have the courage to run again.)

18. “Slavery is a long slow process of dulling.”

(pg. 183; Dana comes to this conclusion as she tries to do the wash with an unhealed back.)


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