What are the similarities between Dana and Alice in "Kindred"?

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droxonian eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Butler writes Dana and Alice almost as mirror images of each other, and in many ways, Dana's ancestor, Alice, is like her in many more ways than simple physical appearance. Both women are disliked by Liza and loved by Rufus, over whom both women have a certain amount of sway, but to whom both will usually submit in the end. Both women are freeborn but become enslaved over the course of their lives, with Dana becoming entangled with white men by her own choice and Alice because of circumstantial pressure.

However, the generations between them mean there are also many differences between the women. While Dana has received an education and been allowed a degree of control over her own existence, Alice is uneducated and has been treated as subhuman, which naturally has diminished her natural spirit and the fight within her. Her depression and broken will are indications of what Dana might have been if she had endured the suffering Alice has endured. We see this further as the harshness of the past begins to take its toll on Dana, rendering her ultimately less able or willing to fight.

gbeatty eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Dana and Alice are alike in many ways. They are genetically linked, since Alice is Dana's ancestor. They look alike. They are both intelligent African-American women, and Rufus desires both of them. He gets angry at both of them because he can't have as full a control over them and their desires as he would want.