Why does the author have Dana go back and forth in time as opposed to just being thrust back to the plantation for the duration of the book?
The book would lose its connections between present and past discrimination. There would be no way to compare the two, which is a theme of the novel. Also the book would not be about a woman experiences with time traveling, but become about a woman’s experience in slavery. This would basically change the book from a paranormal book to a historical fiction.
Why is Kindred written in Dana’s voice (first person)?
It is a narrative experience being told, and by it being told in first person makes the experience more real to the reader. You get more of an emotional appeal by it being told by another person/human. The reader may lose this emotional appeal if the story was told by some unknown narrator, distant from the events in the book. Most importantly this book is based on the experience of Dana, so who could better portray the emotions and events of the story.
How do the characters in Kindred assume the roles assigned them? How do they resist?
Most of the slaves actually do consider themselves property to be bought. Even at a young are unknowing preparing themselves for the future in slavery. The slaves do not actually say what is happening to them is wrong, they say they don’t like, or that they want to get out of slavery, but do not every acknowledge the fact that slavery is inhumane. This is due to the fact that from birth they were being told that they were property to be owned, sold, and used however their white owner wanted. The children grow up playing “sales man” and other games that represent slavery. They think their just playing a game, but they are actually mentally preparing themselves to become slaves, obedient slaves.
What role does Rufus’s mother have in the formation of his character, and is Rufus strongly influenced by her?
Rufus only retained one trait from his mother: obsessing over the people he loves. Rufus’s mom didn’t care what Rufus said to her, or how he treated her. She still loved him, and obsessed about him, and she wanted to be the person Rufus loved the most. If she feared that he liked someone more she would try to remove that person, as she tried with Dana. Rufus portrays these qualities in his pursuit of Alice. He was her so bad and doesn’t care if she doesn’t like him. It gets to the point were he plots to remove Alice’s husband from the picture, so that he can have Alice all to himself. Rufus forcibly tries to stay the most important thing in Alice’s life, just like his mother did with him.
Elements of power being wielded over others are evident throughout Kindred, even among the slaves. What are some examples?
The slaves are given some one to oversee them and make sure they do their jobs. That person usually tends to be a slave, and in “Kindred”, Sarah and Luke have these positions. Both were not any nicer than Mr.Weylin when it came to keeping order, and both even threaten to whip slaves if they don’t work. They are trying to be evil, which seems to be what other slaves think, but they were just trying to survive. They had received a role that would give them more protection, and were not going to risk losing it or being punished for others slaves, so they showed no favoritism towards slaves.
What is the difference between a house slave and a field slave? How does Dana understand and react to the distinctions? Are there any contemporary parallels?
Field slaves seem to be less afraid of punishment than house slaves and physically stronger. Field slaves are also likely to rebel and run away. While house slaves tend to be more loyal and educated than field slaves. Dana learns the skills that the house slaves have to offer. She is then toughened up mentally by watching how the field slaves work, and how they absorb punishment, and given advice on how to whites. House slaves are the brains and field slaves are the muscle, but they both use their roles to their advantage to survive slavery.
How would the story be different if Kevin were black?
Well for starters, when they went back to the past together for the first time, they probably would have been enslaved. Since the only thing that kept Dana from being owned by Mr.Weylin was the fact that she was owned my Kevin. Also they would not be able to travel as freely as they wanted. If Kevin wanted to he could have escaped to the north with Dana at anytime, he was a just a white man traveling with his slave. However if they were both black, and lacking a permission slip from there owners, they would have been considered runaways. All together Kevin’s being black would bring amount many problems, being white in 1815 in the south, was as powerful as being a king.
In Kindred, how do the psychological affects of slavery and slave ownership on men differ from the affects on women? Do these injuries have any contemporary parallels?
On men it seemed more discriminative because constitution says that all men are created equal. No one thought that women were equal to men, so the fact that women were treated as property or below men was right to them. A parallel is that slaves are fighting for equally against white people but inside that women in general are fighting for equally against men.