How do the allusions in Octavia Butler's novel Kindred relate to historical context?

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The main character in the novel, Dana Franklin, discovers that she has the ability to travel back in time to the nineteenth century. Dana has mixed white and African American ancestry and, the first time she is thrown back into the past, it is to save the life of her white relative Rufus. The books makes many allusions to slavery as Dana's travelling to the South of the early nineteenth century enables her to discover the burden of slavery in her family life. Kindred can thus be read as a slave narrative, though the perspective is not that of a slave but of 1970s woman. The political climate of the 1970s also enters the novel. There areĀ allusions to the tensions within African American movements themselves betwee those who looked for the whites' cooperation and Black Power militants who argued that whites could not be trusted.

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In Kindred, Dana, a present day descendant of a slave and her white owner, finds herself traveling back in time involuntarily. She begins to understand that she does this when the life of one of her ancestors is in danger; when she saves them, she ensures her own present-day existance. Butler uses this plotline to show the horrors of slavery. One of Dana's ancestors is owned by the other. When Dana is in the past, as a black woman she, too, is treated as a slave. She has to save people she does not like and endure situations that are horrible, in order to allow her own future self to be born. Butler shows various horror of slavery--rape, physical brutality, separation of family members--while writing an interesting time travel novel. She was one of my favorite SF authors, and died far too young.

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