Dana's loss of an arm is a symbol of a disfigured heritage in the Kindred. In the book, there exists a lot of inhumane experiences that Dana and other slaves underwent in the antebellum South. For instance, there is a lot of brutalities, rape, and extreme fogging that the slaves are subjected to while in the South during the period of slavery. As Ruth Salvaggio suggests, Danas lost arm is a symbol of a disfigured heritage (Butler 267). The disfigured heritage is well reflected in Danas experience in the South and the also the paradigm of a disfigured heritage serves as a clear depiction of the effects of slavery within America in 1976, the novels narrative present as shall be outlined in this essay.
Dana is of the bloodline of Rufus, most of her experiences in the novel revolve on her efforts to save Rufus life so that she can save the future existence of her family. Notably, Rufus is a father to one of Danas ancestors and that is the main reason why she puts on every effort to try and save him. Dana for instance saves Rufus from a-to-death beating by Isaac, Alices husband after Rufus rapes his wife (Butler 122-123). Had Rufus not raped Alice (one of his slaves), then Hagar, the one who initiated Danas lineage, would not have come to existence. Dana therefore, pursues the existence of her lineage which can be referred to as a disfigured heritage as it crops from rape. A brutal encounter for Alice with Rufus is what gives rise to her lineage.
What defines the disfigured heritage crops from this event (of rape). Rufus being a white mans son is the father of the main ancestor in Danas lineage. However, since Dana is black, she and her Black slaves succumb to extreme battering and rape experiences which define their heritage. Alice, for example, is subjected to a thorough beating in Weylins plantation on top of which the dogs are released to bite her (Butler 148). This represents the disparity that existed between the Whites and the Blacks which fortunately or unfortunately is what Danas future was founded upon.
The contemptible experiences and encounters of the slaves in this period that molded their heritage are further confessed by Dana when she describes to Kevin how she was treated in the South: she was beaten and she was forced to sleep on the floor (Butler 245). Others within the firm she was enslaved were sold out like they were some property, they had no freedom during that period (Butler 247). Isaac is an example of a slave who was sold like someones property when he was caught running away with Alice (Butler, 148).
Kevins main motive of getting entangled in all this was the fact that he, being White wanted to marry a Black woman but would not be allowed in that period. He and Dana were trying to change the past so that they could save the future. In the process, Dana loses her arm as she returns from the past where she saved her lineage. In a nutshell, the heritage of the Blacks, as clearly illustrated bloomed into a disfigured heritage in which they were looked down upon and were taken not to belong in the Whites world. They were thus subjected into to a lot of injurious life in which they were denied any freedom. A life of slavery; caused death, rape, and other brutal experiences on the Blacks and this is what the novels narrative presents for the year 1976.
Butler, Octavia E. Kindred. Boston: Beacon Press, 2003. Print. (http://english2rusharts.weebly.com/uploads/2/1/6/2/21628506/kindred_-_octavia_butler.pdf)
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