Extrapolation

"No.": The Narrative Theorizing of Embodied Agency in Octavia Butler's Kindred

Extrapolation (2012), 53, (2), 151–181.

Abstract

This study interprets Octavia Butler's novel Kindred (1979) in terms of its treatment of agency, a person's ability to reach a decision about themselves and implement it. Reading the novel as a powerful narrative contribution to postmodern agency debates, I trace Kindred's choice to express agency by means of the trope of the body through time travel, Dana's relationship with Rufus, and the metaphorical use of bodily mutilation. My analysis focuses on the novel's textual performance of its own project: Kindred makes the body its primary trope in narrating the necessity to include the body in any conception of self.

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Bast, Florian