Octavia Butler's Kindred is a science fiction novel about a young African American writer named Dana who is forced to travel back in time to where her black and white ancestors live on a slave plantation in antebellum Maryland. As in Frederick Douglass' Narrative of the Life and Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, the book reveals the horrors of slavery and the frailty of the human condition, foregrounding themes of violence, family, and social construction. Through Dana, Butler explores and problematizes race relations in the early nineteenth century as well as the late twentieth century.


Read the prologue and main text of Kindred and respond to the writing prompts below. Format all responses on the same document and submit via Pilot. DUE DATE: Friday, Nov. 24, 9 a.m.


In your own words, write one-paragraph sketches for the following characters that account for their biographies, emotional dispositions, and core desires. Each sketch must be at least 100 words.

Kevin Franklin
Rufus Weylin
Tom Weylin
Alice Greenwood

Short Essay

Discuss the ways in which the title encapsulates the relationships within the novel. Is it ironic? Literal? Metaphorical? Your first sentence should be a thesis argument. 250-500 words.


Octavia Butler is perhaps the most renowned female African American author of science fiction, a genre dominated by white men. Kindred is a soft science fiction novel that doesn't employ of a lot of science fiction tropes (e.g., aliens, space exploration, robots, etc.). The only trope Butler uses, in fact, is time travel, and the means by which Dana travels back and forth in time from her present (the late 1970s) to antebellum Maryland remains a mystery from beginning to end. In many of her science fiction stories and novels, Butler dealt with the otherness and alienness of individuals who find themselves in a foreign environment. How is this represented in Kindred? 500-750 words. DUE DATE: Friday, Dec. 1, 9 a.m.


In your own words, summarize the following three articles on Kindred. The first article by Robert Crossley is located in the READER'S GUIDE at the end of your text (265-80). You can access the other two articles on Pilot or by clicking on the titles.

Robert Crossley • Critical Essay
Lisa Yaszek • "A Grim Fantasy": Remaking American History in Octavia Butler's Kindred
Gregory Hampton • Kindred: History, Revision, and (Re)memory of Bodies

Each summary should be 250 words long and formatted as a single paragraph. As always, be sure that your writing is revised and polished. Submit all three summaries on the same document via Pilot. DUE DATE: Friday, Dec. 8, 9 a.m.