Who Am I Free to Be: Identities across Time in Octavia E. Butler's 'Kindred'
- Teresa Egbert (see profile)
- African American literature, American history, American literature, Cultural studies
- Item Type:
- Conference paper
- Conf. Title:
- Adapting Historical Narratives
- Conf. Org.:
- Centre for Adaptations, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK
- Permanent URL:
- By adopting the form of a slave narrative and using the device of time travel, Butler places Dana and Kevin in a position to (re)learn history and to illustrate how they construct/assume identities in the 19th century and how those identities affect their 20th century selves. Dana and Kevin adjust and readjust the identities they can and do assume in each century in order to survive as well as to maintain a precarious hold on self. Butler, through Dana’s narration, explores the personal and public identities available to a black woman and a white man in two centuries. This paper, then, examines how Kindred borrows the form of a slave narrative and affords Dana a way to define herself in two centuries and explore how she is affected by those identities.
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