Study Guide

Kindred Marriage

By Octavia Estelle Butler

Marriage

Alice Greenwood. How would she marry this boy? Or would it be marriage. And why hadn't someone in my family mentioned that Rufus was white? (2.2.147)

The first time she meets Alice, Dana knows that Alice will grow up to have children with Rufus Weylin. She can't imagine how, but she knows they'll get together. They probably won't ever get married (since it's illegal), but something's going to have to happen between them.

"That's better than saying you're his wife. Nobody would believe that." (3.2.144)

Rufus agrees that the best thing for Dana to do is tell people that Kevin is her white master. There's no way anyone would ever buy the idea in 1815 that a black woman and white man could be married. It would be as crazy in those days as the thought of someone marrying a chair or a rock.

Then about four months after we'd met, Kevin said, "How would you feel about getting married?" (4.1.9)

It's not the most dashing proposal in history, but Kevin decides to take the next step with Dana when he asks her to marry him. The move surprises Dana because they've been fighting for a while. She also doesn't realize just how much the engagement will anger her family.

"Got to where he wanted to be more friendly than I did […] He tried to get Judge Holman to sell Isaac South to keep me from marrying him." (4.3.18)

Alice explains how Rufus started paying sexual attention to her as they grew into teenagers. But he knew all along that Alice loved Isaac. He even tried to get Isaac sold away from his father's plantation just to prevent the two from getting married.

She said it with no concern at all even though she knew her life could become much harder if Rufus married. (5.10.6)

Alice doesn't seem to care if Rufus marries a white woman. She doesn't seem to realize, though, that this new wife will have it in for her from day one. The new wife isn't likely to appreciate the fact that Rufus is living with a slave who he's had several children with.

At Christmas, there was another party—dancing, singing, three marriages. (5.11.5)

Marriages seem to be a big part of the Old South celebrations we find in this book. And why not? A marriage is a good reason for a party, and a party is a good way to distract yourself from the fact that you're a slave.

"One husband is enough for me." (5.11.14)

Dana denies Rufus' suggestion that she will try to find a black husband now that she's stuck in the 1800s. Dana insists that she only wants one husband and that she'll get back to him no matter what it takes.

"Found anybody you want to jump the broom with?" (5.11.10)

Again, Rufus approaches Dana and asks if she plans on finding a black slave to marry. The reason he keeps asking is obviously because he feels possessive toward Dana and doesn't want her in the arms of any other man.

"I told her everything. Even about you and Kevin being married. Especially about that." (4.4.63)

Rufus says he told Alice all about Dana being married to Kevin. That's a big deal because Rufus is himself a white man who would like to marry Alice, a black woman. At least he says he'd like to marry her. It's possible that this is just another lie he tells himself to make himself feel better about forcing her into sex.

"If I lived in your time, I would have married her. Or tried to." (4.4.73)

Rufus insists that he would marry Alice if he could. But it's impossible to know just how genuine he is. It wouldn't be the first time he told a lie to get what he wanted.