The Importance Of Time Travel In Octavia Butler's Kindred

1975 Words 8 Pages
In Octavia Butler’s science fiction novel, Kindred, the protagonist, Dana, is involuntarily wrestling with the urge to not conform to the ways of the antebellum Southern culture she has been forced into due to a time traveling sensation. Her psychology unknowingly embraces her ancestor’s patterns of behavior in this time instead of maintaining a surface-level imitation she intended to keep since her first encounter with this phenomenon. This uncontrollable submersion into slave-holding Maryland commands Dana to not only comply with the norms, but also evolve her mental constitution, leaving room for her to forget her present-day dignity. She almost seems to forget and fade in and out of remembering her worth in the 1976 perspective. Dana’s …show more content…
Butler gives way in Kindred for the reader to gain a new perspective by utilizing time travel in a way that goes beyond a gimmick. She shows the struggles of a proud, black woman living in a society that isn 't wholly accepting of who she is in tandem with the struggles of a submissive black woman who seemingly cannot stop her digression into the shadows. Dana’s momentum is directed to revealing her purpose for being transported to this historic age, not by the fascination of the time traveling itself. Her actions and way of thinking are driven in what seems as an attempt to navigate the norms and avoid physical harm. Instead, it soaks into her mentality even when she reemerges back in present day time. The antebellum South demands that Dana fall into line with the expectations they push onto slaves. This takes away from her overall dignity, confidence, and self-worth. Being immersed into this culture allows her to become part of it compared to a standpoint of survival. It is easy to argue that Dana’s behaviors are purely moves of self-preservation, but by Butler allowing her to go back to present-day, the reader can track the sad, frustrating, but ultimately understandable shift towards allowing this culture to become

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