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Interracial Relationship between Dana and Kevin in Octavia Butler's ‘Kindred’

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In the novel ‘Kindred’, Author Octavia Butler travels back to the time where slavery was the big part of American life. Butler sends the modern characters like Dana and Kevin to experience the past. As Dana traveled back and forth several times and every time she goes there is a new situation behind it. Butler clears up how interracial relationship had changed Dana’s life as living with kevin as a free women she was happy what she had with Kevin, But at the same time she was also shown having a connection with Rufus in slavery era. Butler also allged that Dana was the only one to travel back, as a free women in the era of slavery and find a different perspective of others.

The novel brings the ‘science fiction’ that Dana is the only one to go back. She traveled back serval throughout the novel with a new story. Slowly she met a lady name Alice Greenwood who was a free woman until she ran away from Isaac. Dana finds out Alice was her old dead ancestor.“We look alike if we can believe our own eyes, I guess so. Anyway, all that means we're two halves of the same woman—at least in his crazy head” (Butler). Which makes clear that Alice was an ancestor of Dana. Unlike Kevin, Dana was the only one who had suffered the physical and emotional wounds back in Antebellum South. She experienced many different things throughout the journey of traveling. “I lost an arm on my last trip home. My left arm. And I lost about a year of my life and much of the comfort and security I had not valued until it was gone. When the police released Kevin, he came to the hospital and stayed with me so that I would know I hadn't lost him too”. She had done what it takes but the result always ended up something negative. Dana witnessed many unusual activities which had never seen before. She saw people get beaten up, raped, mentally and physically abusive. Traveling back made Dana stronger about handling things. “She was ready to kill anyone if she had a knife when she went to help Rufus and his family (Butler)”. By the time past by she was not scared of anyone anymore, being a free woman, she had not expected all this situation, she was ready to fight back if she had to.

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The interracial relationship between Dana and Kevin was just perfect. They a good close relationship until Dana started traveling south. They were perfect to read each other face and tell what the problem is going no. “He gave me a look that I knew wasn’t as malevolent as it seemed. He had the kind of pale, almost colorless eyes that made him seem distant and angry whether he was or not. He used them to intimidate people. Strangers” (Butler). After traveling back for them the first time, Dana was unconscious because as she was on a gunpoint by tom. When she woke up she saw the love and the caring nature in Kevin eyes which made her happier. She had that mindset that Kevin would never betray her. There was a time where Dana was holding Kevin's hand and he was also able to travel back to the south. Kevin is a white male he had not suffered what African American did back then. “A place like this would endanger him in a way I didn't want to talk to him about. If he was stranded here for years, some part of this place would rub off on him. No large part, I knew. But if he survived here, it would be because he managed to tolerate the life here” (Butler). Cleary Dana was in a situation where she didn’t want Kevin to face it as he will be worried for her. This help both to keep their relationship together. There was no way for Kevin go back without Dana, he missed a couple times traveling back. By stating back he also experienced how African American were treated back then. “We didn’t seem to have to grow back into each other. The separations hadn’t been good for us, but they hadn’t hurt us that much either. It was easy for us to be together, knowing we shared experiences no one else would believe” (Butler). By leaving him alone made him stronger and think about Dana’s pain and what was she going through.

Dana felt a connection between her and Rufus after saving him from drowning. She believes that Rufus will not be as his dad when he grew up. But when Dana met him for a second time, she was completely shocked by what she had seen. “The boy had learned to talk that way from his mother and father” (Butler). Which was true as he learned by the influence of the surrounding that as being a white, he could only be the master. The aggression was started to come out from Rufus. As he was just not the same who Dana met her before. “A slave was a slave. Anything could be done to her. And Rufus was Rufus—erratic, alternately generous and vicious. I could accept him as my ancestor, my younger brother, my friend, but not as my master, and not as my lover. He had understood that once” (Butler). This showed us how Dana thinks about Rufus. As a free woman, she didn’t want to be a slave of the little boy who was saved by her when he was drowning. She was ready to accept him in any relationship but not as a master and slave or a lover. She had never thought about Rufus being a white boy and always help him no matter what the situation was. There was an incident were Rufus makes a statement that “n-word can't marry white people” (Butler), when he knew about Kevin and Dana related. Dana was completed shocked by hearing as he came from a modern world where she had not heard anything like this before. Although the behavior of him towards her was not nice, she still forgives him thinking that he is just a child. And later on, she gets to know that Rufus was also one of the old ancestors of her.

Dana hadn’t had a great experience with slavery. There is not a specific reason why she was the only one to travel back. But whatever she saw or experienced was more than enough for her to handle it. She got to meet the old ancestors And got to know their life better from their point of view. She had gone through various problems that made her though to fight anyone she wanted to. Her relationship with Rufus was very close as she saved him from drowning but things didn't go well as she thought when he grew up. Relationship with Kevin was like a perfect match as it was an interracial relationship. In the end, she lost her arm but get to know many things that a normal person cannot experience.


  1. fiction lover 125. ‘Blog Post #5-Octavia Butler: Relationships in ‘Kindred’’. fiction lover 125, 5 Feb. 2016,
  2. ‘Kindred Sample Essay Outlines’.,,
  3. LitCharts. ‘Interracial Relationships Theme Analysis’. LitCharts,
  4. LitCharts. ‘Family and Home Theme Analysis’. LitCharts,
  5. LitCharts. ‘Freedom and Privilege Theme Analysis’. LitCharts,
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Interracial Relationship between Dana and Kevin in Octavia Butler’s ‘Kindred’. (2022, December 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 1, 2024, from
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