Introduction

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Introduction

The author of Kindred uses “the parable of the sower” to explain how the slavery of the Africans-Americans came about in the plantations during the colonial period, and how slavery has impacted the relationship between the native Americans and the African-American in the modern lifestyles. There is still racial discrimination in America, where the black communities have fewer privileges compared to the whites and are subject to social, cultural and political insubordinations (Hampton 99).  Dana and Rufus bring out the theme of violence and collective history is in the novel ‘Kindred’ by Octavia Butler. Dana is a black lady who marries a white man and they face contempt from the whites. She struggles against violence of the white community and the tight relationship she has with the Rufus’ family. She perceives herself as being lesser than the whites, and a victim of blame under the ruling class. In one of the encounters with Rufus, she is an object of pleasure as Rufus attempts to sleep with her. Luckily, she escapes. In addition, the collective history of slavery still lives among the black community at the present time. Rufus perpetrates violence to his slaves and even to Dana. He portrays collective dominance of the white community through beating up slaves, selling them and referring them as “niggers” (Butler, 36).  Racism is a label for individuals who view the white color to be superior to the black color in mental innovation and creativity, but does not apply to the whole group (Scheurich, 121). The paper discusses the theme of violence and collective history in reference to characters Dana and Rufus.

Violence refers to the intentional use of extreme insults or provocations, against another person and is intended to gain control (Ray, 6). The quote ‘nigger’ has been widely used by the white men when punishing and giving authority to the black community. Dana is a protagonist in the novel and she faces a lot of violence that emanates from the white community since she is African-American. The theme of violence is evident among the white rulers who oppress the black slaves working on their farms. For example, in an attempt to save a small red-haired boy drowning near a river- Rufus, his mother screams at Dana and when the father arrives, he points a gun to terrify her. Rufus points the blame to Dana since she is black (Butler 14). The river is symbolic of the beginning of the predicament that befalls Dana. The river introduces to the reader the first act of violence that is waged on Dana by the white man after she saves Rufus, after drowning in the river. The author uses the technique of tone variation among the white community to express the contempt they had for the black community. In an angry tone, the man refers to Dana as the ‘devil’ as he points the long barrel gun at her (Butler 6). The author advances the plot in the novel by use of the style of flashback. Dana flashbacks to 1815 in Maryland, where the white men try to rape her when she comes out of her hiding place to help Alice’s mother. The white oppressors called the black slaves as ‘niggers,’ identified by Butler, (41), when one of the white men comes to their house and calls Dana as a maiden nigger, to symbolize her being color and as a slave to her master’s- the whites. Rufus admits that his mother calls black people niggers and he is compliant to the term for the whites perceived that the blacks should be the oppressed (Butler, 25). In another flashback when Dana recounts how she met with her husband Kelvin, who is white, the coworkers view the relationship to be awkward for a black woman was not to marry to the colonial masters. They perceived Dana’s relationship with Kelvin to be provoking the order of the power relationship between the servants and the masters. However, Dana’s marriage is successful since they endure slavery as part of their life from the menial paying job they were doing (Butler 52). Rufus portrays an act of violence when he attempts to rape a black woman-Alice; a culture that was encouraged by the white community to manifest their power of oppression (Butler, 117). Rufus, when defending himself, uses a command tone that he ‘wants’ Alice and her husband to be sold way to avoid further confrontations.

Rufus supports senior white men to be using a condescending word against the blacks when he says, ‘why not call black people niggers’ (Butler, 25). The white master of the plantation raises Rufus showing no appreciation for the black people. Rufus sells Sam, a slave working in the plantation as a punishment for flirting with Dana and hits Dana when she tries to intervene. Rufus oppresses Dana a.............


Type: Essay || Words: 1594 Rating || Excellent

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