Next Meetup

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
Lets read Kindred while sharing dishes. Discussion Questions 1. Both Kevin and Dana know that they can't change history: What, then, are the purposes of Dana' s travels back to the antebellum South? Why must you, the reader, experience this journey with Dana? 2. How would the story have been different with a third person narrator? 3. Many of the characters within Kindred resist classification. In what ways does Dana explode the slave stereotypes of the "house-nigger, the handerkchief-head, and the female Uncle Tom" (page 145). In what ways does she transcend them? 4. Despite Dana's conscious effort to refuse the 'mammy' role in the Weylin household, she finds herself caught within it: How, if at all, does Dana reconcile this behavior? How would you reconcile it? 5. When returned to the present Dana said "The ease. Us, the children.... I never realized how easily people could be trained to accept slavery." To what extent, if any, do you believe racial oppression exists today? 6. How do you think Butler confronts us with issues of difference in Kindred? How does she challenge us to consider boundaries of black/white, master/slave, husband/wife, past/present? 7. Compare Tom Weylin and Rufus Weylin. Is Rufus an improvement or simply an alteration of his father? Is there evidence of Dana's influence on the young Rufus in his adult character? 8. Of the slaves' attitude toward Rufus, Dana observes "Strangely, they seemed to like him, hold him in contempt, and fear him at the same time." (page 229) How is it they can feel these contradictory emotions? How would you feel toward Rufus if you were in their situation? 9. Compare Dana's 'professional' life in the present with her life as a slave. 10. When Dana and Kevin return from the past together, she thinks to herself: "I felt as though I were losing my place here in my own time. Rufus's time was a sharper, stronger reality." (page 191) Why would the twentieth century seem less vivid to Dana than the past? 11. At the last time Dana emerges from the past she lost her left arm. Why is this significant? 12. Kevin is in the past five years. Dana is there for almost one. Why did Butler felt Kevin needed to stay in the past so much longer? How have their experiences affected their relationship to each other and the world around them? 13. A common trend in the time-travels of science fiction assumes that one should not tamper with the past. Butler's characters ignore this theory and invade each other's lives. How does this influence the movement of the narrative? 14. Why does Rufus use Dana to get to Alice? Does Alice use Dana? 15. The needs and well-being of other residents of the plantation create a web of obligation. Choose a specific incident; and determine who holds power over whom and assess how it affects that situation. 16. Dana states: "It was that destructive single-minded love of his. He loved me. Not the way he loved Alice, thank God. He didn't seem to want to sleep with me. But he wanted me around...(page 180) How does the relationship between Dana and Rufus develop/change? What are the different levels of love portrayed in Kindred? 17. Discuss the ways in which the title encapsulates the relationships within the novel. 18. Do you believe that Dana and Kevin's story actually happened to them, or that they simply got caught up in the nostalgia of moving old papers and books? 20. Butler opens the novel with the conclusion of Dana's time travels. The final pages of the book make up an epilogue demonstrating a linearly progressive movement of time. How does the epilogue serve to disrupt the rhythm of the narrative?

Needs a location


What we're about

We are a book club who enjoys sharing and discussing the books we have read. The group meets monthly on a Sunday from 6 pm - 8 pm. Book selections are suggested by the group members and voted on. Location of the meetup is given only to the members signed-up for that particular event.

To help facilitate discussion, questions are sent to members who signed-up for an event. Members are not expected to read or prepare responses to the questions prior to the event and not all the questions maybe used. In addition, members may bring their own questions to the event.

Members (261)

Photos (5)