Kindred, Week 4

Welcome to the final discussion of Kindred.

How did you feel about this last section? It was a really intense book--I'm glad I read it, but there were definitely parts that were hard to read!

What do you think of Rufus's life? He was not a happy man, and he did not have a happy life. Do you think his life had to go the way it did, or did he have times where he could have changed paths and made different, better choices? Do you think Dana made any difference in his life? I guess he wouldn't have made it to adulthood if it weren't for her. I just got to the end of the book and felt like his life was completely meaningless--all he was good for was making a daughter who went on to be one of Dana's ancestors. 

I think I was frustrated that there wasn't any kind of happy ending, but I think it would have been really unrealistic for this book to have a happy ending. Enslaved people did not have happy lives, and it would have been really unrealistic for the ones in this book to have really rosy experiences. Alice's life as Rufus's personal slave was horrible, but she represents so many real people who had the same experience. That's a really hard thing to think about, but it's an important thing to think about. 

In "The Storm," Rufus punishes Dana by having her work in the fields. Do you think he really blamed her for his father's death, or did he just want to exert control over her? Later, he wants her to take care of his mother. Why does he keep putting Dana in those sorts of situations? Does he trust her more than he trusts everyone else in his house? 

After Hagar is born, Dana believes that her job with Rufus is done. However, that's not true, and she ends up traveling back to Rufus one more time. Why do you think she has to travel back to Rufus even after her "job" is finished? In "The Storm," Dana doesn't wait to travel back home--she takes matters into her own hands and slits her wrists. Why do you think she did such a drastic thing? Do you think she does this because Rufus breaks her trust and hits her? Is that the last straw for her in regards to Rufus? 

In "The Rope," Rufus is despicable. He pretended to sell his children, causing Alice to kill herself, he refuses to free all of his slaves, and he makes advances towards Dana. Did you have any sympathy for Rufus by the end of the book, or did you agree with Kevin, thinking that Dana needed to kill Rufus? 

Rufus refuses to let Dana go and grabs her as she's traveling, causing her arm to be left in the past. Do you think losing her arm was a small price to pay for being able to come and stay home? In the epilogue, we find out that Rufus died, and it seems like a fire was set in the house to cover up the fact that Rufus was stabbed. We also find out that all of the slaves were sold. Do you feel like Dana accomplished what she was supposed to accomplish in the past? How do you think she will be able to move on in her regular life after experiencing all of that trauma? Why do you think Dana had such tender and forgiving feelings towards Rufus throughout the whole book?

What are your final thoughts about the book? Did you enjoy reading it? Do you think you'll check out any of Octavia E. Butler's other titles? 

If you enjoyed this book and are interested in reading and watching similar titles, check out this list I created. Make sure to let me know if you check out anything on the list! 

Before you go, check out the video clip below if you'd like to see how the television version compares to the book version. Let me know if you watched and enjoyed the television adaptation.

 I hope you enjoyed the book this month and are excited to join us again next month as we read Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. I can't wait to hear all of your thoughts in the comments section!