In Kindred by Octavia Butler, why does Rufus want to be like his father?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Rufus does not want to be like his father, although he respects him, but he acts like him becaue he is perpetuating the cycle of abuse.

Tom Weylin seems like a harsh father and a cruel slavemaster.  Rufus understands a different side of his father.  As a child, Tom beats Rufus.  Yet he seems to appreciate that his father is just trying to do what he needs to do in a harsh society of slaveholders.

“Daddy’s the only man I know who cares as much about giving his word to a black as to a white.” (p. 181)

Rufus explains that this is one of the few things he can respect about his father.   Even though he does not want to be his father, he finds himself parroting his actions.  As in many cases of abuse, he relives the harshness of his upbringing in the man he becomes.

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