The Importance Of Setting in Octavia E Butler’s Novel Kindred

June 7, 2022 by Essay Writer

What is a setting?

According to Google dictionary, “Setting is the place or type of surroundings where something is positioned or where an event takes place. ” Noted, science fiction author Octavia Butler uses setting in her writings as a way to move her characters from one place to another. Usually her characters are moved into the future; however, in her novel Kindred, characters move into the past. As events in Kindred unfold, readers must follow the leading character Dana as she works her way through multiple settings to discover her own family history. Butler uses setting and environment to establish the tone and mood of Dana’s world and, as Dana’s story progresses, the setting of her story continues to evolve or decrease.

In Chapter 1 “The River, ” it is June 9, 1976, in Los Angeles, California. Leading character Dana feels “dizzy and nauseated as she bends over to give her husband another box of books”. She later “falls out completely and finds herself outdoors kneeling on the ground beneath trees”. That’s when she later on discovered, “a young boy screaming and drowning”. This is one of the settings that has taken place in Kindred so far. “Dana rushed over to the child and carried him out of the water to save his life”. But while she tried to do so “the child’s mother, reacted with throwing punches because she thought Dana wasn’t going to save him”. If the main character Dana from Kindred would have not been in this setting we would not have known the place, time, and also the environment she was in, or even what she had to endure just to be placed in this type of setting. Now, let’s look at what setting intels, and we’re just going to dig a little deeper.

Setting has its ins and outs to creating one, and finishing one completely as well. We have quite of few that falls under setting, such as: local, a town or an city; mood, depending on how the character is feeling; climate, anyone’s story has to have a climate, as to where we’re going such as a journey; time, when did this occur? This is where you’ll add the year and day. Last but not least there is geography, in which the atmosphere and their surroundings, such as earth grass; and waterfalls. Setting also has environment, which I’m getting ready to talk about now. Butler uses tone throughout this book because in the Prologue, “Dana spoke about how she lost her arm”. Also, referring back to when “Dana found herself getting into trouble with the white slave masters in Maryland”. The overall tone of Kindred, is straightforward and straight to the point and it continues to be like that till the end. It’s great for us readers because, it helps us to get into the story more, and to have the desire to continue reading it. But as for the mood, it is honesty being told as the story continues to evolve. According to Kindred’s environment I feel its more on the fantasy side, but most importantly time traveling. Although, Dana is the type of character to be on a survival side and also being a brave woman to do what she does throughout this novel just by being forced in these type of “imaginations. ” And, by going back in time finding more about her ancestors and history, and helping out her relative, such as Rufus.

Having a environment in a story is another awesome thing to have as well because, it allows the reader to know where the writer is taking us “place” and also the time. For example (November 18th, 1998) or it could be a descriptive place such as “a lonely farmhouse on a dark night. ” By Dana traveling back and forth to help out Rufus, and finding information about her history allows us the reader, to know what exactly is going on, and why Dana the main character is constantly being pulled back in time. We’re definitely able to detect what day, time, and where the environment of this book is taking us, and will later on take us as we continue to read.

I do love how this book just puts the setting and environment together. To me it flows very well because its environment has to be shown through stories because it plays a big role just like the setting does. People need to know that setting and environment makes a story and it pulls it together. Kindred continues to evolve and decrease. As, Dana goes back into time to find more information about her ancestors, this is where things begin to evolve because she’s finding out more and more things as she continues to travel back, and it’s helping herself to understand why it’s important to learn about her ancestors and that its beneficial, and she can take that information and turn it into something positive. The decreasing part is where Dana puts herself in danger because of the people she has to see based upon her traveling back, and how it’s affecting her body, and what obstacles she has to endure just to digest more information.

In conclusion, we now know how the book Kindred incorporated the setting and environment into the tone and mood of the story. Then, we later discovered why this book continues to evolve and decrease in certain times as we continue to read the book. It is important to have setting and the environment in one’s story. It brings the story together and the audience has a totally full understanding as to why certain events have occurred throughout the passage and story. Never forget to include these two things as you write your stories, it can benefit your story in so many ways. If you totally think about it, if we didn’t have setting or environment we would be completely clueless as to where, why, what time, and the place of the story had happened. And most importantly you won’t have a story.


Read more