Study Guide

Kindred Prologue

By Octavia Estelle Butler


  • The first line of the book tells us that the narrator has lost her arm on her last trip home. So… what kind of trip was it? Was she trying to get home through a war-torn country or something? What in the world is going on?
  • See what Octavia Butler just did there? That's called hooking the reader…
  • Anywho, the narrator also apparently lost a year of her life on her last trip home, too. We imagine this is just a figure of speech, but then again you never know. We know that someone named Kevin has been arrested by the police and then let go, but everything's still murky.
  • Eventually, we find out that the narrator has been in the hospital after losing her left arm. The police assumed her husband Kevin had abused her and somehow crushed the arm, but they had to let him go because they have no clue how he could have done it.
  • The narrator insists that her arm was crushed by getting stuck inside one of the walls of her house. Um, okay?
  • According to Kevin, he just heard the narrator scream at one point and he ran downstairs to find the narrator screaming with her arm crushed inside a wall.