Readers see how the young and courageous Dana leads a team of unique characters in ‘Kindred’ and happen to travel through time back to the 1800s to fix issues relating to her ancestral great grandfathers. Some characters are nice and lovable, while some are wicked and cruel, as readers are about to find out in this article.
Edana Franklin, or simply Dana, is the lead character and protagonist in ‘Kindred’. She is a young and courageous Black woman who is – against society’s expectations – married to Kelvin, a white man. Dana is a writer who’s trying to get her life together but is suddenly being summoned away from her 1976 reality into the reality of the early 1800s, to save her ancestor on several occasions.
The event of her time trips becomes very frequent – with her even carrying Kelvin in one of her trips, and soon she finds herself struggling with balancing the relationships she has with the people in her reality, such as Kelvin, and those she travels to meet in the past such as Rufus. Her husband Kelvin even accuses her of having an affair with Rufus, yet that isn’t the case. In the end, Dana is able to preserve her lineage but at the cost of losing her left arm on her last time trip.
He is the ancestor of Dana, as a result of an affair with one of his Black young maids, Alice. Right from the onset, Rufus is a troubled character who often gets himself into trouble, leaving only Dana with the ability to come to his rescue.
There are several scenarios where Dana saves Rufus- starting from the river where Rufus, then a little boy, is drowning. However, as Rufus grows with every saves, he goes from being an innocent boy to being callous and cruel, and when he becomes the master at Weylin plantation after Tom, his father, passes away, he treats his (Black) slaves the same way his cruel father did; mercilessly.
Kelvin is Dana’s husband, and like her, he’s also a writer. Their marriage is one that gets massive criticism from their society because is a white man. Kelvin portrays the ideal white man the world needs because he has respect for all races and shuns racism, unlike Rufus and Tom, who are portrayed as cruel and insensitive towards other races.
He is the father to Rufus, who first control the Weylin plantation before his death. Tom is not only cruel to his slaves but also to his son as most of the dangers Dana trips back in time to save Rufus from are caused by or traced back to Tom. He’s the perfect example of a fine gentleman of his time – the 1800s slavery era; merciless, segregative, and remorseless.
Alice is a young Black slave girl who bought the Weylins. She was previously married to Isaac Jackson, also Black, but was taken away from him after his arrest. While under the Weylins, she is forced to marry or become a mistress to Rufus – who looks to genuinely love her but still can’t get the hang of treating Blacks any better.
Alicia is frustrated by the conditions under which she leaves and soon runs away (but is caught) after giving birth to two children – Joseph and Hagar – the latter of which is to be the great grandmother to Dana. Rufus sells Alice’s children as recompense for trying to leave him, but she commits suicide afterward.
She is the mother to Rufus and twice to Tom. She is portrayed as mostly being jobless and lacking in the industry. Margaret is particularly hateful of Dana when she comes into the picture because she is intimidated by her education and learnedness. To the slaves under her roof, she is unbelievably hard, harsh, and overbearing. In the end, much later in life, she started doing drugs.
Also, a slave with the Weylin family and a personal helper to Rufus both of whom are about the same age. He enjoys certain privileges by being close to Rufus, but no less detests the dehumanizing treatment his kind gets. He later marries Carrie and has a son Jude, and covers up proof that Dana murdered Rufus by burning Weylin’s house. In the end, Nigel goes on to play an important role in acquiring Alice’s children and taking them to Baltimore where he lives and trains them.
Alice’s mother is friends with Dana and assists her with her quests. She has bought her own freedom as well as those of her daughter Alice, but after Alice loses her husband (due to his arrest) and is sold to the Weylins, she keeps a close tab and tries to assist and keep her safe. She is presented as a very strong and confident woman who puts her family first above other things.
Sarah is a slave woman who works as a cook for the Weylins. It appears she voluntarily stays under suck harsh conditions common with the Weylin slaves because she wants to be close to and protect her daughter Carrie – who’s also deaf and dumb. Due to her strong character and courage, Dana becomes friends with her and finds out that the Weylins have sold some of her children.
Why does Rufus sell Joe and Hagar – his two children with Alice?
Rufus feels enraged by Alice’s attempts to run away from home, so he sells their children as a punishment for her actions.
What drug does Margaret get addicted to in ‘Kindred’?
Later in her old age, Rufus’ mother, Margaret, resigns to addiction to a certain kind of opium, laudanum.
How does Rufus die in Octavia E. Butler’s ‘Kindred’?
At the book’s climax of the book ‘Kindred,’ Dana stabs Rufus to death after he attempts to rape her.