Kindred | Study Guide

Octavia Butler

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Check out this Infographic to learn more about Octavia Butler's Kindred. Study visually with character maps, plot summaries, helpful context, and more.

kindred-octavia-butlerKindredby the NumbersFirst science fiction writer to receive a genius grant from the MacArthur Foundation 1Age at which Dana first time travels to Maryland in the antebellum South, on her birthday26Novels Octavia Butler wrote during her lifetime12Advance paid to Butler for Kindred$5,000Dana, The Fallwas working out of a casual labor agencywe regulars called it a slave market.Sources:, MacArthur Foundation, SeattlePost-Intelligencer, San Francisco Chronicle, Writers & BooksCopyright © 2016 Course Hero, Inc.An African American woman, Butler explored the science fiction and fantasy genres that were long dominated by white men. Published three years after her first novel, Kindred was a breakout success. Butler's masterful writing won her two Hugo Awards (1984 and 1985), science fiction's highest honor.AuthorOCTAVIA BUTLER1947–2006Octavia Butler1979EnglishNovel AuthorYear PublishedOriginal LanguageScience FictionKindredPowerPower relationships andhow they distort both the powerful and the powerless are explored.KinshipDana is torn between her family bonds in the past and present.ViolenceActs of violence to control others haunt readers through disturbing scenes. ThemesMarriedFamilyMain CharactersDanaTime-traveling protagonistRufusSlaveholder,Dana's ancestor TomSlaveholder AliceFree black woman IsaacEnslaved personKevinDana's husbandKindred tells the story of Dana, a black woman from the 1970s who time travels to a 19th-century slave plantation. The novel traces Dana's journeys to the past, where she suffers the hardships of slavery, and her returns to modern life and a white husband. On each trip, the choices she makes to stay alive become more difficult.A Woman,Time Travel,Slavery, KinMOTIFSSlaveryDana, a modern woman, bears witness to and endures the horrors of slavery.Time TravelDana experiences slavery through the recurrent element of time travel.Self-Inflicted WoundsDana cuts herself in order to time travel home, and slaves kill themselves to escape bondage.

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