From the Present to the Past: Redemptive Authority of History in Octavia Butler’s Kindred


The present paper aims to validate the idea that history is a foundational site of redemption. Through anachronistic traumatic journeys that take place in the present, Octavia Butler’s Kindred establishes symbolic and critical connections between past and present. Using magical realism, a counter hegemonic style, the novel blurs binary oppositions, such as past and present, dominant and dominated, questioning notions of hierarchy and dominance, and above all subverting the official reality of slavery. In re-enacting slavery, this historical narrative constructs a linkage across time and race, and conceives the relevance of the racial past. Drawing on the postmodern slave narrative framework, we trace the process whereby the main character submits to the position of slave and at the same time incorporates in the historical narrative representation her sense of self – her subjectification. This experiential position facilitates the construction of a counter hegemonic knowledge that undermines the master narrative of slavery.

Citation: Koffi  Eugene  N’guessan (2022) From the Present to the Past: Redemptive Authority of History in Octavia Butler’s Kindred, European Journal of English Language and Literature Studies, Vol.10, No.1, pp.16-30

Keywords: Masochism, Slavery, history, magical realism, past, present, redemption


Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 16-30 (Download PDF)

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