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EMaciolek's picture


While I did really enjoy Kindred, I do understand where everyone's frustration comes in. The characters (particularly Dana and Kevin) were definitely flat, but maybe we shouldn't judge Butler too quickly. The topic of slavery is such a heavy one, especially when the narrative is in the first person and describes numerous cruelties of the time, that flushing out the characters would have fundamentally changed the message of the novel (or at least would have thrown a shadow over it).

The thing that bothered me the most, was the epilogue. She killed Rufus knowing full well the consequences of the action, but she did it anyway. If she knew all the slaves were going to be sold and families would be torn apart, how could she go and kill him? Then when she finds the newspapers and sees their names and where they were sold the narrative doesn't even really reflect on that tragedy. It's just summarized as if it didn't matter since they were back in the 1970s. Plus she had such a strong relationship with many of the people on the plantation that it seems to be a huge discrepancy within the text.

Another thing that was just kind of annoying me - if Kevin wanted Dana to come back to 1815 all he would have had to do was threaten Rufus' life. Not seriously, just enough to scare him. I feel like that was a big "duh" moment that Butler overlooked.

About the discussion on how Dana felt her life was so important that she could ruin the lives of all the other slaves just so she would be born - jrizzo, you're thought is interesting that the reason is so that she could write what had happened to her, but I'm not sure they ever refer directly to anything like that. I know they mention how it was impossible for her to write once she had returned from one of her trips, which could imply a mental block that would only be broken once the whole thing was over, but it's never a focus the novel takes.

Also, I definitely agree with Sarah about the point that Dana had tried to let Alice escape with Isaac, which would have prevented Hagar's birth. Yet another discrepancy.

So essentially, the miscongruities of the novel are annoying, but overall I found it to be a good read.


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