Bogus Beliefs: Kindred by: Jamie McNair


I want to focus on the fact that many white people believed that inflicting pain and harm on slaves was not only their right, but their duty. How could anyone, especially claimed Christians, completely destroy another beings life knowingly and intently? Several of Octavia Butler's characters in "Kindred" play into this belief that black people were meant to be tortured by them. I want to focus on some of the white characters: Rufus Weylin, Tom Weylin, and Margaret Weylin and "pick apart" their beliefs to uncover where they originated. (Argument may change to Rufus is fundamentally a good person but ultimately is faulted by influence.)


I want to focus firstly on Rufus Weylin since he seems to be the most recently brainwashed into the idea that harming other beings is his duty. We can see through the course of the novel how Rufus has changed from being an innocent boy, only understanding how he is supposed to treat slaves out of fear of his father, to being and extremely aggressive rapist and tormentor. I plan on quoting several passages that exhibit the changes in his behavior towards Dana and the other slaves on the plantation. Then, I want to focus on the eminent relationship Rufus has with his father, Tom.

Next, I want to focus on Margaret Weylin. She is an absolute shrew! I want to look closely at the scene where she screams at Dana for sleeping in the same room as "her master" Kevin. She claims that her house is a "christian household" and insists that sleeping around will not be tolerated. I really want to focus on the word Christianity and how it is thrown around by slave owners. This word is meant to be powerful, and used in justifiable manners. Funny how she claims Christianity when she believes that someone else is doing something wrong, but never looks in the mirror. I also want to look at the influence Margaret has on Rufus. Though Butler makes it seem as though Rufus is dominant in his relationship with his mother, Margaret still has an important role in how Rufus treats his slaves. Margaret constantly screams at and instigates trouble with slaves, which sets an example for Rufus. On page 25, Rufus states that he learned to use the word "nigger" from his mother.

Behold the beast! Tom Weylin seems to be the leader of the pack when it comes to tormenting slaves. He doesn't even blink an eye when he lashes the back of a slave to the point that they pass completely out. Tom truly treats his slaves in the most horrid way possible. There are passages in the novel that speaks a little bit of his family, and I want to concur that the reason why Tom Weylin treats his slaves so awfully is that he learned it just the way Rufus was being taught.


I want to conclude that the reason why the white characters: Rufus Weylin, Margaret Weylin, and Tom Weylin, in Octavia Butler's "Kindred" believe in dutiful torture, is a mixture of false faith and brainwashing. I plan on tactfully piecing together bits of the novel to prove that these characters are subjects to a bogus belief that ultimately results in the creation of monsters. There is no Biblical evidence that the Weylin family can stand behind that support their sick beliefs.

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