Study Guide

Kindred Chapter 5: The Storm

By Octavia Estelle Butler

Chapter 5: The Storm

  • After her run-in with Rufus' rifle, Dana transports back to her home in 1976. Luckily, Kevin has managed to grab a hold of her and come back with her.
  • Kevin has a tough time readjusting to the modern world. He doesn't quite understand how his stove or TV work anymore, since it's been so long since he last saw anything like them. Kevin tells stories about how he was nearly caught helping slaves escape to the American North.
  • Dana turns on the TV and watches the news, which shows a riot between black people and white people in South Africa. She figures that maybe some things never change as far as race goes.
  • Dana later sits down for dinner with Kevin. But then she gets that sickening dizziness and disappears.
  • Next thing you know, Dana is out during a rainy night and she finds Rufus passed out drunk and drowning in a puddle. She turns him over and drags him halfway back to his house.
  • Dana goes to check on Rufus. It turns out that he's given himself as really bad cold by passing out in the rain. Dana helps nurse him back to health.
  • After Rufus his better, Tom Weylin has a heart attack. Dana tries to save him but fails. Rufus blames her for not trying hard enough and sends her to do hard labor in the corn fields as punishment. He knows he's doing the wrong thing, but he does it anyway.
  • Oh yeah, it turns out that, by this point, Rufus and Alice have had several children together. Alice is now pregnant again, and Dana hopes that the daughter will be her own ancestor Hagar.
  • Working in the corn fields is hard on Dana. She comes to almost hate Rufus for making her work in them, especially when she knows Rufus has no good reason. He's just being a child.
  • Eventually, the work is too much. Dana falls face-first into the dirt and passes out.
  • When she wakes back up, Rufus is standing over her and asking her to walk back to the house with him. He tells her that she should stop making him do such terrible things to her. Again, Rufus always blames the victim for forcing him to do bad things.
  • As if Rufus weren't already pushing his luck, he wants Dana to become his mother's personal caretaker. Now that Tom Weylin is dead, Rufus wants his mother to move home from the mental hospital in Baltimore. In case you don't remember, this woman always hated Dana. So Dana isn't totally eager to spend time with her. She agrees in the end though.
  • Dana tends obediently to Mrs. Weylin. One day, Alice is so sick of Dana being such a spineless slave that she criticizes her.
  • Later, Dana needs to go think in the woods, even though she knows she could get into big trouble for wandering off on her own. She sees a train of slaves being led away from Rufus' house by a group of white men with guns. They look like slave buyers. Dana recognizes one of the slaves and realizes that Rufus must have sold her.
  • Rufus shows up and orders Dana to get away from the slaves. She argues with him and shames him for selling off Tess. Rufus says that the slaves are his property and he'll do whatever he wants with them.
  • Dana goes off by herself and runs into Carrie. She tells Carrie about how she feels like a traitor to all black people, but Carrie comforts her.
  • Later on, Rufus needs Dana to write some persuasive letters to buy some leeway from the people he owes money to.
  • After leaving Rufus, Dana goes to the cookhouse and runs into Alice. They talk about how badly Rufus wants to keep both of them around for different purposes. He wants Dana because he needs someone to talk to and he wants Alice to have sex with.
  • Dana keeps waiting on the plantation to see if Alice's next baby will be her ancestor Hagar. She probably figures that the moment her ancestor is born is the moment she can let Rufus die.
  • Dana finds out later on that Alice has asked Rufus to set free the children he and Alice have had together. He keeps saying he'll think about it. Finally, Alice tells Dana that she's going to run away with her children. Dana thinks this is a really bad idea.
  • Alice sticks around until her baby is born. Sure enough, it's a girl and she names it Hagar, despite Rufus' protests.
  • Not long after Hagar's birth, Alice asks Dana to get her some things to help her escape the plantation. Dana is certain that Alice and her children will die or be tortured when they're caught. She talks Alice out of leaving, and Alice yells bitterly at her for being such a traitor. She still claims she'll leave eventually if she doesn't see Rufus draw up some freedom papers for her children.
  • Meanwhile, a slave named Sam starts chatting up Dana and paying attention to her. She warns him that, if he doesn't stop, Rufus is going to sell him away. Sam decides to take his chances. He wants to know if Dana is sleeping with Rufus, and he doesn't quite believe Dana when she says no.
  • Days later, Rufus sells Sam to a slave trader. Dana curses Rufus for being such a horrible person, but he doesn't bend. That's the last anyone ever sees of Sam.
  • Dana is so fed up that she runs a hot bath and slashes her wrists.