Why does Tom Weylin whip Dana in Kindred by Octavia E. Butler?

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ladyvols1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the novel Kindred, by Octavia Butler we meet Dana and Kevin Franklin.  They are an interracial couple who are moving into a new home.  Dana is taken suddenly back in time to the Civil War era and being an African American this puts her in danger.  She is called back each time Rufus Weylin is in mortal danger and she saves his life over and over. 

On one trip back in time Rufus is drowning, another time he is setting the house on fire, and one time his leg is broken from falling out of a tree.  It is during this incident that Kevin, Dana's white husband, grabs on to her and returns to the old South with his wife.  During this visit Mr. Weylin discovers that Dana can read.  He tells her he will permit her to read to Rufus but not to read anywhere else and not to touch his books.  She chose to teach one of the slave children, Nigel a young slave boy belonging to the Weylins, who is the same age as Rufus.  She is leaving the cookhouse with a book and is discovered by Weylin. He whips her for disobeying him and taking the book.

Later she is whipped for trying to escape.

"After being beaten following her attempt to run away, however, Dana is tormented by doubts about her own resistance: "Why was I so frightened now—frightened sick at the thought that sooner or later, I would have to run again? … I tried to get away from my thoughts, but they still came. See how easily slaves are made? they said."

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