Reading 802 Fall 11 Kindred essay

In essence we are truly apart of dana attached to her

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We are the characters in the story. In essence we are truly apart of Dana, attached to her invisibly, there to witness every moment of her journey. And once we have experienced it with her, it is up to us as the readers to make our own connections and judgments on all that transpired. One could pose the question “Why resort to story telling and fabricate history with the help of unrealistic fantasy rather than just stating the facts just as they are?” The answer to that question is simple, yet complex at the same time. Just as the common cliché states that “a picture is worth a thousand words”, history is worth a great deal more. What science fiction does for a historically based novel such as Kindred is help to bring life to the story and struggle of its characters who, though they are fictional, represent a body of people in that time period that shared similar, if not almost completely identical lives and experiences. Watching these fictional characters who speak for the population that they were based on helps the reader to gain a connection with the mindset of the actual slaves that lived in the antebellum south. We as the reading audience get a better perception of the mind of a plantation owner or a slave. A report of the woes of a slave will not give one as great of an understanding of what it was and felt like to be one. Even then with science fiction helping the reader at least observe, they could never truly fathom the true hardships of that lifestyle. However, they can sympathize with these past people
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and take more insight away from a story rather than just a report. The addition of science fiction to the historical text digs deep and touches the core of the issues rather than just scratch the surface with just mere facts. Kindred also excels in highlighting the importance and power of the family patriarch in the 1800s and the dynamic of the father-son relationship that still lives today. When Dana first travels back in time, she is not surprised to find that the male head of the family is the dominant force. Although things had progressed for the rights of women in the 1970s, women, for the most part were still seen as inferior to men. She witnesses and analyzes the patriarchy, first in Tom and Rufus’s father-son relationship. Throughout each phase of the book she is reminded of the omnipotence of the plantation master first through Tom and then passed down to Rufus. In The Fire , Dana’s second life threatening encounter with Rufus, she arrives he is intentionally setting fire to a curtain in his bedroom in the family home. After putting out the fire, Dana begins her first interactions with Rufus through exchanging questions and answers between each other. Through this they begin to try making sense of why they were linked to each other. Rufus reveals that once before he had burned down the barn as retaliation of his father refusing to buy him a horse and was punished severely for it. Dana surprised at his knowledge of revenge asks, “Why did you set the fire? To get even with your father for something else? ” and Rufus replies “For hitting me, see?” and then turns to show the
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