Are there any allusions in Octavia Butler's novel Kindered?

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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The Prologue of Kindred begins with an allusion to events that occur within the interior of the novel, which commences in the form of flashbacks continuing from the starting point of the Prologue. The novel's opening lines depart from the frame of the Prologue and lead into the flashback with:

The trouble began long before June 9, 1976, when I became aware of it, but June 9 is that day I remember. It was my twenty-sixth birthday. It was also the day I met Rufus.

There is also an allusion in the Epilogue to the Emancipation Proclamation written by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, which led to the Fourteenth Amendment, written to protect the civil rights of the newly freed slaves. While thinking about Hagar's fate, the narrator relates, "Hagar, at least, lived long enough for the Fourteenth Amendment to free her."

There are several allusions to the differences between Southern slaves and Northern slaves as in the Chapter called "Fall": "In spite of all ... the dangers of owning educated, Northern-born slaves, he wanted to buy me." There is also an allusion to the animosity between whites and blacks in "The Fight" when the narrator says, "And pass or no pass, I would hide from whites if I could."

Butler's focus in writing is on recreating the experience and environment of the South during the years preceding the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Fourteenth Amendment. Butler finds little or no place for allusions outside of that environment and experience. As a result, classical and other standard literary allusions do not embellish the text.

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