The novel Kindred authored by Octavia Butler is a narration majorly about slavery. The characters of women in the novel revolve around the theme of slavery. Circumstances portray them as unsympathetic characters because of the experiences they have had. This essay is an analysis of Carol, Dana, Sarah, Carrie and Alice as sympathetic characters.
Sarah has endured so much in the hands of the Weylin family. “She hides the rage she feels by being submissive to the family despite what they have put her through. Her husband dead, three children sold the fourth defective, and her having to thank God for the defect. She had reason for more than anger” (pg 76). It is annoying that the Weylin family had sold all her children yet she still was subordinate to the family. She however endures what she goes through in order to protect Carrie, her deaf and mute daughter.
Alice Jackson, a black slave is constantly raped by Rufus Weylin. The rape leads to the eventual birth of a son and a daughter named Joseph and Hagar respectively. She ends up killing herself after Rufus sells her children. Rufus’ explanation for the sale was that she had attempted to escape. The narrator states in page 124 that raping a woman had no consequences as compared to loving one. “I didn’t want to just drag her off into the bushes,” said Rufus. “I never wanted it to be like that. But she kept saying no. I could have had her in the bushes years ago if that was all I wanted” (pg 124).
Dana struggles to maintain her freedom despite the pressure to Rufus puts her in to become a slave. Carrie is a strong woman as evidence by the stance she takes when other slaves treat Dana Franklin badly. Carol, Kevin sister is a remarkable white lady as she is best friends with a black lady. This relationship is unique since it was not a common occurrence to have black people interacting with the white.
All these women endured what they went through so as to protect their loved ones. This is evident in the scenario in page 52 whereby the narrator states that women voluntarily became slaves in order to sustain their livelihoods. The narrator states that “waiting with you were winos trying to work themselves into a few more bottles, poor women with children trying to supplement their welfare checks” (pg 52). The women in the novel are admirable despite the suffering they go through. The women experience both physical and sexual assault by the whites but they still are patient with their masters (whites).
The only challenge is that the women pass as weak characters since they did not stand up to fight for their rights. It is easier to dislike them since they remain aloof when their children are exposed to inhumane treatment. They seem to have no power over the things that should matter to them most. Alice Jackson is an example of weakness as she eliminates her life when Rufus tells her that he has sold Joseph and Hagar.
In summary, the women are discriminated upon on the basis of their gender. They are sympathetic characters because they do not retaliate regardless of what they are subjected to. Octavia Butler reveals that laying a low profile is sometimes necessary in order to protect one’s loved ones.