Issue of Discrimination by Gender and Ethnicity

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Trust and sympathy go hand in hand, as without trust there is no sympathy. In the novel Kindred by Octavia Butler. The setting that the story is mainly based around is the early 1800s in Southern California during the slave era, and the one that the protagonist and the secondary protagonist – her husband originated from is Los Angeles in 1976 . Dana is the protagonist of the novel that is characterized in a sympathetic way throughout the novel, which adds to the plot when Dana does an unspeakable act that makes you wonder whether your sympathy was justified and whether the choice she made in the end was morally correct.

Butler is skilled at characterising the characters in her novel, as so that each character has a distinct personality and each are intertwined with every other character in the novel.

Butler does a decent job of garnering sympathy for Dana, the protagonist in the novel. The novel portrays the character under the theme of slavery, and that theme influences their actions greatly.

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Butler separates the feelings of sympathy for normal slaves from the main characters by premise of the theme. Since the slaves were already accustomed to the experiences they had on the plantation, it wasn’t much of a shock to see that happen in the book, relating to the slaves in general. But the years that Dana spent in 1976 shaped her personality and her struggle to break out of the norm of slavery when she traveled back was nonetheless blatant. African-Americans had to become slaves in order to maintain their livelihood, Dana included, evident in page 52, “waiting with you were winos trying to work themselves into a few more bottles, poor women with children trying to supplement their welfare checks” (pg 52).

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Holding resentment as time passes on, much more profound in Dana but still remaining patient with how the whites at the time treated slaves was astonishing, as it requires much willpower to keep your head down when the times get hard, and their experiences serves as a valuable reminder of the horrors of slavery.

Back in the 1800s, discrimiation was prominent in both gender and ethnicity. It appeals to us as we sympathize with Dana due to the morals that she carries from the 1970s back to the 1800s. The set of morals were very discongruent with each other, as in her time, it had been a century after the emancipation proclamation, which drastically changed the legal treatment of blacks. They were still discriminated against of course, but their living conditions changed for the better compared to before slavery. The underlying theme that can be seen is that having and maintaining a low profile is sometimes necessary to ensure the safety and livelihood of loved ones.

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Issue of Discrimination by Gender and Ethnicity. (2022, Jan 13). Retrieved from

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