EDITING : 2024.4.22 월 18:51
The Gachon Herald
How People Conform to an Unjust Society.Kindred, by Octavia E. Butler.
Kim Si-On  |  6788zion@gmail.com
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Updated : 2024.04.19  15:41:48
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 Many individuals may encounter disadvantages or discrimination on a daily basis throughout their lives, whether in school or at work, as a result of specific policies or societal constructs, including those related to gender, class, or race. Maybe power and institutionalized violence are inevitable in society. Octavia E. Butler addresses these sensitive social issues through time travel fiction. In this article, we aim to review the theme of institutionalized violence that threatens human dignity and explore how people conform to that violence as depicted in the novel, Kindred.
 
Kindred – Octavia E. Butler 
 
 In 1976, on the 200th anniversary of America's independence, a black girl named Dana celebrates her birthday. During a normal day with her boyfriend, she unexpectedly travels back to the 19th century, where slavery still exists. There, she saves a drowning white boy named Rufus, only to find herself facing the barrel of his father's gun. In that moment of danger, she is abruptly returned to her own time. Through multiple time-travel experiences with her white boyfriend Kevin, Dana learns that Rufus is her distant ancestor, and each time his life is threatened, she is pulled back to the past. As they spend more time in this violent era, Dana and Kevin become desensitized to the brutality they initially found appalling. Ultimately, Dana is forced to kill Rufus and return to reality.
 
 Through Dana, we witness individuals who conform to institutionalized violence. it's nearly impossible for an individual to single-handedly change the status quo. When resistance is met with defeat, people come to realize that their efforts alone cannot alter the world, further reinforcing feelings of helplessness. Additionally, resistance can inflict harm not only on the person resisting but also on those around them.
 
 An example of the complexity of making change in the novel is represented in Dana's actions toward Alice. Initially, when Dana encounters Alice and her husband at first, they attempted to run away from Rufus. However, because their escape attempt failed, his leads Alice to becoming a slave of Rufus and Isaac being sold elsewhere. Over time, Dana herself began to view other slaves as her own kind, no longer seeing herself as time traveling outsider. Consequently, Dana refrains from attempting to enlighten others. She used to explain to Rufus that treating black men as slaves is wrong, but she eventually realizes that the people whom she thought were evil were merely acting in accordance with the norms of their society. She comes to understand that despite her efforts, nothing can change. In the end, Dana chooses not to intervene when Alice attempts to run away again, and she does not prevent Rufus from assaulting Alice.
 
 Unlike individual acts of violence, institutionalized violence leads people to accept unfairness. Therefore, it is crucial to perceive an unjust society as a collective problem that requires collective solutions, rather than an issue affecting only individuals. This article covers only a fraction of the book Kindred. The book explores richly structured narratives, focusing on various relationships related to slavery, race, power, and gender, all within a complex timeline that incorporates time travel.
 

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