An Analysis of the Life of Rufus in the Novel Kindred by Octavia Butler

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Life for Rufus in “Kindred”

At the start of the novel “Kindred” by Octavia Butler, Rufus is portrayed as a son of a plantation owner. Rufus grew up without being educated because factors like distance from schools removed the need for schooling in the South. Only the wealthy could afford private tutors for their child, and the only tutor Rufus ever had was Kevin. Daughters of plantation owners never went to school or had private tutors. They were taught to do things an average housewife would do, which usually means no play.

Amid the second part of Kindred, Rufus is not the son of a plantation owner. He is now the plantation owner himself. Many of the plantation owners were seen as lazy, but they did take care of the plantations economy and overwatched the slaves and the trading. In their free time, they liked to gamble, drink, and play music loudly. They were also invited to major events such as operas and plays.

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They may seem spoiled, but they are controlling a large enterprise at the same time.

The planters in the antebellum south held most of the wealth there. There weren’t many of them, so Rufus was somewhat lucky to be one. “Overall, out of a population of 8 million, only 383,637 owned slaves and there were few individuals in 1860 who qualified as planters, owning more than twenty slaves.” ( Rufus, as a plantation owner, sometimes had to do cruel things. However, instead of doing it himself he usually asked other people to do the work for him, for example, the overseer, The overseer controlled how the slaves worked in the fields, and he beat them if he had to or wanted to.

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Rufus did, in fact, control the slaves that were being sold, selling Sam and Tess in the process, which were minor characters in the book. Despite having a wife, most plantation owners still raped black women in hopes of impregnating them so that they have children that can work. Thats is why some black women chewed on cotton root which performed an abortion.

However, it is also amongst reasons why slaves were beaten, which are: Absence from work, neglect, eating the sugar cane and theft. If the slaves did any of the following things, they were beaten with a stick, cart whipped, chained, they had an iron crook put around their neck, their bones were broken, a ring around the ankle, and the list goes on and on. There were also cases of major physical abuse, such as the slitting of ears (Isaac), castration, breaking of limbs so that they can be amputated easily, and beating out of eyes. While Rufus didn’t beat that many slaves, he did technically rape Alice. Also, he caused Isaac’s ears to be cut off. As mentioned before, Rufus’s plantations wasn’t large, so the slaves were treated relatively better compared to the slaves working at larger plantations. In conclusion, Rufus lived a somewhat easy life. Being a planter was the best position back then, thus making him somewhat spoiled. However, he was slowly moving to the 25% of whites who owned 20 slaves or less when he started meaninglessly selling slaves just to fund the plantation and himself. He was aware of the advantage he had amongst other people and used it on his side. Rufus did his job as a plantation owner and acted like one, but made some really bad decisions that affected him and individuals around him.

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An Analysis of the Life of Rufus in the Novel Kindred by Octavia Butler. (2022, Feb 12). Retrieved from

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