Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Blog # 8: "The Storm," "The Rope," and "Epilogue"

This week in class we have been finishing up the book, Kindred by Octavia Butler. Our assignment for this blog, is to answer a question. The question which seemed most interesting to me is this one: " Look up the word "kindred" in the Oxford English Dictionary (or at least in a good dictionary and a thesaurus). What does the word mean in relation to Dana? Who are her kindred in this novel? What does the word mean in terms of American society as a whole? Would you say the title is ironic? Literal? Metaphorical? And, how does the picture of the Topsy Turvy Doll in my Day 13 entry symbolize the meaning of this word?

When I did my research on the definition of the word "kindred", I used the following source :
  • :
    1. a person's relatives collectively; kinfolk; kin.
    2. a group of persons related to another; family, tribe, or race.
    3. relationship by birth or descent, or sometimes by marriage; kinship.
    4. natural relationship; affinity. "
The definitions were all similar, they pretty much said the same thing and the most common definition was blood relative, and ancestor. In relation to the novel's story and title, Dana's "kindred" was Rufus Weylin and Alice. The fact that she never knew about her family's history and the fact that she had white blood in her is metaphorical in a strange way. She was living in a time where there still was some unacceptance to her interracial relationship. She was able to work and make a living for herself without having to take degrading jobs, however Kevin's sister and Dana's family also did not approve of their relationship.

I find it a little funny that Dana's aunt was forgiving because she wanted Dana's kids to have a lighter complexion. The reason why I think it's significant and ironic is due to the fact that her great, great, great, grandfather was in fact white. The book contains certain situations which makes you stop and think of how she must have felt being transported in the past and watching how her ancestors came to life. She was able to see Hagar the most important person which started her family line. This was her kindred, her interracial race and now she herself was in an interacial relationship with Kevin.

In terms of American Society, the word "Kindred" means that we exist in a world that tried to live in a fantasy. Slaves were constantly raped and bore children of slave owners. Therefore the population was always mixed. America was founded by the slaves and together we are one. No matter how in denial the white people are, at some point in their own ancestrial tree they should have some relation to a slave. So the thought of being superior should not exist. Even though it does still exist today, back then it was harder to accept for themselves. That's why the idea of happy slaves made them feel better about slave as a whole. They tried to justify it, but it will never be right. In today's society, you still see the black nannies taking care of the white babies. History doesn't go away, it just comes in moderate forms. I see this in our society, especially since I work in the city.

Iin relation to the Topsy Turvy Doll, the concept of the doll it's self is ironic because the doll foreshadows the new birth of American Society. As professor X said, it does look as if the black side is having the white side. This relates to the idea of Dana's Kindred because Alice is the one that has the baby of Rufus and then creates Dana's family line. The doll is suitable because many black slaves bore their slave owners children and this created the mixed blood lines. The doll's concept is a little weird because the purpose was to be able to play with the white side when no one was around. This allowed the slave children to have a white doll, but the fact that they wanted one because they weren't allowed to have one is sad. They went to such extremes to create a two in one doll which symbolizes once again the idea of the unity between slaves and master and the birth of the American society, which wouldn't exist without slaves.


  1. Okay, but now that you have the definitions, how do they apply to the novel?

  2. Sorry I hadn't finished when you checked it... I'm still working on the last piece... :)

  3. I actually like her blogs but being i know how she interacts in class i know that she mainly knows what she is talking about ! however in her last blog she gave all the definitions which i think she should really summarize that portion cause its like 4 different definitions and thats a lil much

    1. Thanks I removed the other definitions you're right. :)

  4. Clever, very good observations.