Study Guide

Kindred Education

By Octavia Estelle Butler


With education comes power, which in Kindred is exactly why slave owners like Tom Weylin have strict rules against their slaves learning to read or write. Dana tries her best to spread her modern ideas to the slaves on the Weylin plantation, but Weylin whips her brutally when he catches her at it. From that point on, Dana avoids causing any conflict out of fear of getting hurt. You might want to condemn her for giving up too easily. But then again, you've probably never been whipped half to death either.

Questions About Education

  1. Who are Dana's first reading and writing students? Why do they want to learn?
  2. How does Sarah react when Dana tells her about black people writing books? Why do you think she react that way?
  3. How do Tom and Margaret Weylin react to Dana's ability to read? When is she allowed to read and when is she not?
  4. What does Tom Weylin mean when he says there's a difference between educated and smart?

Chew on This

In Kindred, we learn that education must hold a deep power if people are so dead-set on preventing others from having it.

In Kindred, Octavia Butler shows us that education has limitations when it comes up against violence.

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