In the novel Kindred, does Dana and Kevin's story actually happen to them, or did they get caught up in the nostalgia of moving old papers and books?

I'm going to explain how I think that this story happened in the "real world". I'm going to write it as if Dana is telling the story. I don't know when the first time was, but one day Kevin and I were sorting through some old books and papers. In one of those piles, we found a letter addressed to my ancestor Rufus Weylin. It said that he owned some property in Maryland, so we decided that we would travel there so that Kevin could see where his family came from. It had been years since I'd been back to Maryland, so we got into the car and started driving.

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There is not a definitively correct answer to this question, and a reader can certainly defend either position. Butler's Kindred is a work of fiction , and a reader simply needs to decide which fictional story that he or she is going to believe in. There is no doubt that...

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There is not a definitively correct answer to this question, and a reader can certainly defend either position. Butler's Kindred is a work of fiction, and a reader simply needs to decide which fictional story that he or she is going to believe in. There is no doubt that having Dana and Kevin whip back and forth through time is nearly unbelievable. Time travel is the stuff of fantasy and science fiction, and there is certainly no reason to believe that Dana and Kevin are actually doing that; however, I find alternatives equally difficult to believe.

The book repeatedly gives the impression that Dana gets dizzy and passes out just before being transported back to Rufus. I can imagine that Dana passes out and dreams this; however, I can only imagine that she dreams this once. Anecdotally, I have had a reoccurring dream, but I have never had a dream continue a previous sequence. I'm not saying that it can't happen, but I find it very hard to believe that Dana could repeatedly pass out and continue a dream sequence.

For me, time traveling is an easier mechanic to believe in because it makes it much more possible for Kevin to be transported back in time and have memories of the experience as well. If it was only happening in Dana's mind, then Kevin shouldn't be able to experience the slavery time period. Finally, the time travel option most easily explains how Dana's arm became trapped within the wall.

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