Racial Oppression in Kindred by Octavia Butler

In the fiction “Kindred,” the author Octavia Butler revealed the darkness of slavery, denounce the anti-humanity of racial oppression, the tragic slave life in nineteenth century was revealed. The main character Dana Franklin is a married black woman from California in 1970s, she time travels to the past several times to save her ancestor Rufus Weylin. While Dana Franklin stays and trys to survive in the slavery society at the Maryland plantation in the nineteenth century, she witnesses the tragic life of black slaves under this system and how they survive.

Life in the slavery Africans have different types of strategy, there are people tied to run away, ones asserted as much power as they could in the house positions that they hold, some accept the life that they had and made the best of the situation, and there are people just cannot live like that so they attempted suicide.

When enslaved Africans live under violence and oppression, they have no human rights and treated as property.

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In this case, run away is a chance to live a free life. No one is willing to live as slave, but not everyone has the courage to escape. Dana Franklin is a black writer living in the late twentieth century, she is married with a white man named Kevin Franklin, who is also a writer. When she lives in a world, where all black succumb to white people. She has to prevent herself become one of them and keep her freedom and strong heart.

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It not so surprised that she wants to run away. “I had read and heard enough scare stories about the fate of runaways to keep me with the Weylins for several days longer than I meant to stay.” (186) Dana had examples before her, she learned what she need to bring and how to hide form if she run and hide from the whites. Although she is scared and there are many failed examples before her, she run after Alice showed her the letters that she wrote to her husband. Unfortunately, she got caught quickly, because the sewing woman Liza heard her get up and told Mister Tom. Rufus’s personal servant Nigel also tried to run once, but also got caught. Rufus stopped Nigel form being sold to south. However, they were playmates when they were young.

Some enslaved African accepted the fact that they had no freedom and try to made the best of the situation. Sarah work for the Weylins as a cook, she has four children, but only one daughter is left with her because Master Tom sold the other three. She had completely accepted the life as enslaved and trying to do what she thought is best for her and her mute daughter Carrie. Sarah was obeyed and loyal, she makes house servants work hard while Margaret is absence. When Dana question her why they have to work hard, she whispers “You need to look at some of the niggers they catch…You need to see them.” (158) She obeyed because she is fear by the threat of abuse, more important is that her daughter is still in the Weylin house. She is list to sale after Rufus die, but her daughter Carrie and Nigel were not.

There are enslaved African asserted as much power as they could in the place that they held. Nigel’s father Luke is an example. Tom Weylin give Luck some power over the slaves in the plantation since Luck work at the plantation for a long time. He is a strong man and he thinks he have the ability to do whatever he wants, he taught Nigel how to disobey the whites with smart. He got sold away from his son because Tom just had enough with him. While Rufus tell Dana why Tom sell Luke, he said “Luke…he would just go ahead and…whip him until he ran away.” (150)

The life enslaved African live in is so helpless that they are not only work hard, not enough food to eat, get beating, and there is nothing they can do even their family got sold away. Live under slavery, attempted suicide is not unusual. Alice is a free women and married Isaac Jackson. She became a slave after Isaac fight Rufus. Alice and Isaac tried to run away but they got caught. She wants her freedom but the it was almost impossible. She was forced to sleep with Rufus and had two children with him. Rufus tried to scared Alice by their children so she wouldn’t run again, but Alice dressed herself and attempted suicide. “Her dress was dark red …combed her hair and then…” (277) Rufus didn’t sell their children but it doesn’t matter.

The slaves in kindred used different ways to survive. They tied to run, tied to asserted as much power as they could in the positions that they held, accepted enslaved and made the best of the situation, and there are people attempted suicide. Some people tried more than one ways to survive. If I lived in the slavery I probable commit suicide because I cannot see myself survive in such cruel environment. I don’t think I can survived the physically abuse, apart from family, and more importantly constant insults.

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Racial Oppression in Kindred by Octavia Butler. (2022, Jan 13). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/racial-oppression-in-kindred-by-octavia-butler-essay

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