Study Guide

Kindred Chapter 6: The Rope

By Octavia Estelle Butler

Chapter 6: The Rope

  • Dana wakes up in her bed in 1976 with Kevin hovering over her. She finds her wrists are bandaged, which means Kevin must have gotten to her quickly after she came back to 1976. Apparently, the doctor that stitched up Dana's arms wants her to see a psychiatrist because she appears suicidal. Go figure.
  • Kevin wants Dana to promise him that if and when she goes back in time again, she will let Rufus die. Dana is still scared that if she does, though, all the other slaves will be sold off.
  • Dana is home this time for fifteen full days. Kevin is obsessed with asking about whether Dana has ever been raped. She keeps telling him no and says she resents being interrogated.
  • Eventually, Dana travels back in time. She wakes up and gets kicked in the stomach. Rufus is nearby and he wants to know why Dana is there. Rufus doesn't seem to be in trouble, so Dana and he both want to know why she's there.
  • Rufus leads Dana out to his barn. Hanging dead from one of the rafters is Alice. She has killed herself because she thought Rufus had sold her children to a slave trader. Rufus tells Dana that he only said he had done this to scare Alice into being more obedient. Well, it looks like the trick backfired royally.
  • Sarah the cook wants to murder Rufus when she hears the news. But she just pushes her anger back down inside herself.
  • Dana goes back to Rufus in his library and finds him fondling a handgun. It looks like he's thinking about shooting himself.
  • They have a funeral for Alice the next day. Rufus brings his children back to see their mother one last time. Dana is disgusted by all of it.
  • After the funeral, Rufus gets Dana alone and talks about how scared he is that she'll leave him someday and let him die. He gets really up in Dana's face and even grabs her. Dana realizes that he's going to try and rape her, so she grabs a knife and kills Rufus.
  • The slave named Nigel comes into the office and sees what Dana has done. He panics and runs toward Dana. But Dana gets dizzy and starts to disappear. Then right at the end of the chapter, she feels a screaming, crushing pain in her arm. The arm seems to be merging with a wall.
  • Now we return to the opening scene of the book, where Dana talks about losing her arm. When she travelled back to 1976 for a last time, her arm reappeared inside one of her house's walls and was crushed and later amputated.