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sarahcollins's picture

I'd probably have had the

I'd probably have had the same negative reaction to Kindred as other people if I hadn't read Parable of the Sower, another book by Butler (Anne mentioned it during class as the story about the empath) last year for C-sem. Reading Parable, I was turned off at first by the writing style; the characters were flat and didn't appear to have recognizable, human emotions, and at times I felt like I knew the kind of people they were better than Butler (has anyone had that experience?) After reading on though, I began to see Parable as kind of a (very) dramatized, science-fictive depiction of what it's like to be deeply deeply introverted, except Butler made introversion into a mental power/ability. I might've read it completely wrong, but that's what struck me while I was reading it. It helps to clarify some of Butler's choices, as far as characterizing and describing people and events goes. And I don't necessarily mean for this comment to comment on what we've said earlier in class about intro-/extroversion, just to shed light on Butler's style, since this is a novel, although that could be interesting as well.

Anyways, Kindred doesn't seem too concerned with preaching a feminist message, at least, but it's a little heavy handed in dealing out other lessons. The question of whether Dana is being selfish by saving her ancestor's life and not the slave's is interesting. Practically speaking, I think it's just a plot device to keep the suspense up; both of them, Rufus and Alice, die soon after the all-important off-spring has been born, and then the novel ends. Isn't it natural that a person would be first concerned with preserving their existence before moving on to more complex things, like ending slavery? The time-travel set up works so that is all Dana can really do - Dana loses her time-travelling ability once Rufus dies, so she can't linger to free Sarah and the rest. If she succeeded in letting Alice escape with Isaac, she equally would not be born, right?

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