Dana, a time traveler from the late twentieth century, has hopes to change history when she meets Rufus Weylin.
As an African American woman with modern ideas about racial equality (and the unique perspective of knowing how history plays out), she sees this opportunity as a chance to bring out better qualities in the white, slave-owning Rufus than he has access to in the racist world he grew up in. Unfortunately, her time with him is too limited, and one woman's influence isn't enough to counter the social conditioning he has undergone every day of his life. She doesn't seem to influence his behavior—or his future—at all.
At one point, Dana uses literature to try to build a relationship with Rufus. He confides in her that his teacher thinks he is stupid, and Dana tries to encourage him. She even agrees to tutor him for a while, undoubtedly hoping to influence his thought processes and the way he views the world through education. This leads to an eventual confrontation between Rufus...
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