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ndegeorge's picture

Kindred

I have to start out by saying that I was definitely in the Abby/Weezie camp when it came to reading Kindred. I strongly disliked this book and though I know we're not supposed to make academic judgements based on our likes and dislikes I found it hard to use the novel to legitimatize any claims about feminism specifically. Kindred reminded me of the kind of book I would have read (and possibly enjoyed) when I was fourteen. Meaning that I found the writing to be unsophisticted and the depiction of a historical time period to be elementary. The flat characters were irritating and the style didactic, like some morality play trying to teach us a lesson about racism. Yes, I think we already know that the past affects the present and that we really haven't come as far as we like to think we have. I don't think Dana's anachronistic ideals and the other slaves' reactions to them are a new idea.

I guess you could claim that the characters were forced into adopting the social constructs but I think that's par for the course in most sci-fi/fantasy novels... Women (white, black, poor, intelligent, whatever) had little or no status in that time. That's just stating a fact. If Butler wanted to make a statement about that she should have showed more of a contrast to the "present." Personally I can't find one driving argument in the novel. There are plenty of ways that you could mold it to fit different arguments (as we did in class) but for me that takes away from it's overall "impact" or message about feminism or race relations. I wouldn't put it in my feminist canon.

I hope The Book of Salt is better...

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