Thursday, 6 September 2018

Kindred

I lost an arm on my last trip home. My left arm.

Each time Rufus puts his life at risk, Dana is sucked back through time to save him. The trouble is, Rufus is the son of a slave-owner in the ante-bellum south and Dana is a black woman. What must she do to survive and return home?

I felt super anxious for Dana throughout, knowing the risks for her. At one point early on Kevin says that it doesn't seem that bad, and I must admit I felt the same at that time in the story. Of course Kevin is a white man which lends him a lot of privilege and Dana challenges him. It doesn't take long for the violence to escalate and for Dana to see the reality of her removal of rights.

It also shows how through fear, someone can become a compliant slave. Many wonder why slaves didn't band together to overthrow their captors, and Kindred tries to show why that might be. The master uses children as bargaining chips, the love of others to keep slaves in their place. And once Dana has experienced the pain and humiliation of a whipping, she is much more cautious about her actions.

The ease. Us, the children . . . I never realized how easily people could be trained to accept slavery.

She's also in the awkward position of needing to protect Rufus or be erased from existence. She has to basically endorse rape in order to exist. It's difficult to read in places.

First published in 1979 it must have had such an impact on readers who had probably not been exposed to much about slavery, especially from the slaves' point of view.

Slavery was a long slow process of dulling.

It doesn't really tackle any of the paradoxes of time travel, and there are no implications of the modern day items she takes back with her. I felt her a very sensible woman to take some of the things she did. You just kind of have to accept what happens, happens.

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge: 23. A book about time travel
Science Fiction vs Fantasy Bingo: Wibbly Wobbly Time Travel

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