How would you describe the relationship between Rufus and Dana in Kindred?

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The previous educators have classified this relationship as complex and complicated, and I think those are great descriptors. I would add that Dana's feelings toward Rufus are symbolic of the typically impossible situation slaves found themselves in.

Dana has every reason to hate Rufus. He is cruel, abusive, and vindictive. Yet Dana realizes that her own destiny is inextricably bound to his because he is her ancestor. Without going too much into timeline theories, it stands to reason that if Dana kills Rufus (or allows him to be killed) before he has children, she wipes herself out of existence. Many slaves found themselves in similar situations of impossibility with no hope of escape. Even if they organized a rebellion and killed their slave owners (which was done from time to time), they knew that a retribution would follow and they (and their families) would be killed.

Dana also struggles with Rufus's character. On one hand, she sees glimpses of goodness in him, and she holds out hope...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 839 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on February 24, 2020