Abstract – Part One
By Kyra Brue
The Following is an abstract and the first part of the essay: Rufus’ Tumultuous and Constant Influence on Dana in Octavia Butler’s “Kindred“
*It is highly reccommend that you read Kindred by Octavia Butler before reading this essay, but not required. Enjoy!
As a child, I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood, and was rarely exposed to black culture, especially when it came to science fiction. Most of the science fiction that I grew up with included white-centric works like, Star Wars, 1984, and Jurassic Park. Even the non-science fiction films and literature that I was exposed to were very limited in the portrayal of and creation by black actors and writers, especially by black females. Even one of my favorite black female-centric works was written by a white author. The lack of representation of African American women across the board, but specifically in science fiction, made me curious. I wanted to look at how black women have consistently been eclipsed by white men in science fiction while looking at how this representation has grown, if at all, and how black women in this genre are still impacted by white men.
In this paper I focus on Octavia Butler and her acclaimed novel, Kindred. By examining the two main characters in this novel, a strong black woman who has been propelled back into the Antebellum South and her white, slave-owning ancestor, I look at the complex dynamic between these two characters. I examine how black women in a work of science fiction deal with ever-present white male power, as seen through the characters of Dana and Rufus. I look closer at these characters to show how black women are influenced by white men through manipulation, deceit, and abuse (both mental and emotional), as seen in the way that Rufus treats Dana.