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Published: 16-10-2019

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Alice Greenwood: an Individual against Environment

Octavia E. Butler’s novel Kindred details the harrowing journey of 26-year-old Dana Franklin. A modern day black lady from 1970s Los Angeles, Dana is constantly jerked back through time to the land of her ancestors: early 1800s Maryland. Her job? Save her white ancestor, Rufus Weylin, from death. The danger? If she does not, she might never be born. As an educated black woman in this time of slavery, she must watch almost everything she says and does just to survive, and she learns to rely upon the tight-knit slave community to support her through. One particular figure in certain, however, stands out to Dana as who she could have been, had she been born in this time period. That figure is Alice Greenwood, born free of charge but forced into slavery through Rufus’s cruelty. All through this narrative, Alice’s instance is a grim reminder of what folks will do just to survive, and a caution to Dana to be wary of becoming complacent. Alice exhibits a number of qualities as the novel progresses, beginning with strength, moving forward to resolve, and ultimately ending in despair as she is pushed past her breaking point.

Very first, Alice does exhibit wonderful strength throughout the narrative. The very first encounter Dana has with Alice occurs when Alice is a small youngster. Alice and her mother are free black ladies, according to Rufus (28), but Alice’s father is a slave, who sneaks out at evening to visit his loved ones (35). Dana sees patrollers rip him out of the house and strip him and his wife naked prior to whipping him. Alice witnesses this occur, and does “weep noisily against her mother’s leg” (36), but when the patrollers are gone, she quietly goes to her mother’s side and does not show worry when Dana calls to her. To see such horrible experiences and still be capable to trust other individuals shows me that Alice has a fantastic deal of inner strength, which she undoubtedly requires being a black lady in a slave state.

Even so, it may be less complicated for youngsters to show strength as life has not however broken them. As Alice grows older, her strength does threaten to break. She functions through it the best way she can by showing resolve, defined as the determination to stick to a program. Her life situations grow to be miserable when she is stripped of her dignity and freedom to serve Rufus Weylin’s aggressive appetites. Though she usually snaps at Dana, calling her a traitor and a “mammy” figure. and has mood swings, she is prepared to do what ever it takes to survive. Dana typically thinks to herself that she and Alice could have been the very same person if Dana had been born in a various time, and knows that it’s challenging to criticize one more person’s choices when Alice was just performing what she had to do to keep alive.

But one individual can only take so significantly pain, and Alice’s resolve at some point provides way to despair and the loss of all her hope. Her miseries began strong by being born black in the antebellum South, and the loss of her freedom at Rufus Weylin’s demands also was a great shock to her (157). She also suffered a lot as Rufus’s mistress and getting forced into his bed each and every evening, as effectively as being abused by him physically at least when that Dana knows of. It isn’t until Rufus threatens her youngsters that Alice breaks completely. Dana discovers on her final visit that Alice has hung herself (248). As Dana starts to investigate what led to this, she discovers that rufus pretended to sell Alice and his children, Joseph and Hagar, to get back at Alice for attempting to runaway (251). Alice’s loss of her young children led to the breaking point, resulting in a tragic suicide.

In a world exactly where she had no rights beneath the law and virtually zero prospects for happiness other than the really like of her young children, losing them meant there was practically nothing left to live for. Dana realizes that this choice is not selfish, and the responsibility to live life can be overwhelming for those who have been pushed this far. Dana is grateful that her life took a diverse path. Alice is a strong lady complete of resolve nevertheless, even strong ladies can be pushed to despair. In a cruel planet, Alice shines as a individual of self-honesty and the willingness to defend her personal life and her children’s lives. Her life and death serve as a sturdy reminder to the rest of us of the importance of kindness, independence, and the continuing want for social justice in our globe.
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