Can you point out and explain three types of conflicts that arise in the story? This question requires three different answers for each three examples.

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Jonathan Beutlich eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Kindred has many different conflicts that you could choose from. One conflict that I think too often gets ignored is the conflict between Rufus and Alice. This conflict involves rape and the selling of her children. It escalates to the point where Alice feels that her only escape is through suicide.

Another important conflict is the internal conflict that Dana struggles with throughout much of the novel. She knows that Rufus has to live long enough to have the children that will eventually give rise to herself, but Dana is fully aware that Rufus is pure evil and deserves to die. It is a struggle...

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alihurley | Student

There are several types of conflict that arise in literature: Person vs. Self, Person vs. Person, Person vs. Society, Person vs. Nature, and Person vs. Fate/God, to name a few. In Kindred, we can find an example of each of these conflicts, but we will focus on Person vs. Society, Person vs. Person, and Person vs. Fate/God(s), as seen through Dana’s perspective.

Dana experiences the conflict of Person vs. Person in her relationship with Rufus, which is an example of an external conflict. When Dana first appears in the past, she saves Rufus’ life and becomes sympathetic towards him. However, with each visit Dana makes to the past, and as Rufus continues to grow older and adopt more rash and racist attitudes, their relationship becomes filled with tension. Dana reflects, “And Rufus was Rufus—erratic, alternately generous and vicious. I could accept him as my ancestor, my younger brother, my friend, but not as my master, and not as my lover. He had understood that once.” As a child, Rufus was more easily able to have an equal relationship with Dana, but as an adult, Rufus tries to control Dana, ultimately beating and attempting to rape her.

Dana experiences the conflict of Person vs. Society as an educated black woman from the future living in the 1800s U.S. South on a plantation as a slave. As a black woman, Dana is in conflict with the white society in the U.S., who immediately label her as a slave due to her skin color when she appears in the 1800s, and she is forced to place this role in order to stay alive. Also, as an educated woman from the future, Dana is in conflict with the society of black slaves on the plantation. In a conversation with Nigel, Nigel remarks that Dana does not sound like a slave:

“Why you try to talk like white folks?” Nigel asked me. “I don't,” I said, surprised. “I mean, this is really the way I talk.” “More like white folks than some white folks.”

Dana is in conflict with some of the slaves on the plantation because she does not speak or behave like a slave, which could result in Dana being beaten, raped or killed. As a woman from the future, Dana must learn to adapt to the society in the 1800s in order to stay alive.

Lastly, Dana experiences the conflict of Person vs. Fate/God(s) when it comes to the question of preserving her ancestry. Dana’s existence in the future is contingent on the act of Rufus raping Alice, as Dana is a descendant of their child, Hagar. Dana knows the rape must occur for herself to be born, but she struggles with the moral dilemma. She must decide to stop Rufus from hurting Alice, and risk her own life, or follow fate and allow Rufus to pursue Alice.