In what ways is Rufus similar to or different from Tom in Kindred? How do these change over the course of the novel?

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In Kindred , Rufus and his father Tom are similar in that both are elite white males living in the nineteenth century and are members of a Southern slave-holding family, the Weylins. As members of this family, both men are direct ancestors of Dana. They are portrayed as holding racist...

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In Kindred, Rufus and his father Tom are similar in that both are elite white males living in the nineteenth century and are members of a Southern slave-holding family, the Weylins. As members of this family, both men are direct ancestors of Dana. They are portrayed as holding racist views that seem typical of the time, the place, and their position. Another similarity is that both men are violent and physically abusive toward African American women.

A difference in their characterization is that Tom is presented as an adult throughout the novel, whereas Rufus is shown at different life stages from childhood onward. As he reaches adulthood, it seems that Rufus has developed the capacity to feel an emotional bond to a Black woman rather than solely engage in abusive behavior, including rape, as his father does. This affection is directed toward a free woman of color, Alice. However, the similarity between father and son is later shown when Rufus rapes Alice and then enslaves her.

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