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Courtney Henry Dr. Gates English 204 April 3, 2014 The Influence of Education In 2014 education is turning into a powerful tool. Power, success, and education have started to turn into the same thing. This means if youre educated you will do better in life, so be more successful, and if you are successful you then gain more power. In Kindred power and education are not related as much as they are now. In 1819 power has everything to do with race and nothing to do with education. We learn this because Dana travels back and even though she is educated, since she is black she has no power. In a time where education doesn't mean power and success Dana has to learn how to survive without using he education as a tool. In the novel Kindred by Octavia E. Butler shows the relationship of education and power in a time where education doesnt mean nearly as much as it does now. Education doesnt become a big influence in Kindred until both Dana and Kevin are transported back to 1819. When Kevin becomes Rufuss teacher it gives Dana and Kevin a reason to stay on the Weylin plantation. It is easy to tell that Tom Weylin doesnt like Dana but puts up with her since she doesnt belong to him and he has a use for Kevin. Youll get into trouble, he [Luke] said. Marse Tom already dont like you. You talk to educated and you come from a free state. Why should either of those things matter to

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him? I dont belong to him. The boy smiled. He dont want no niggers round here talking better than him, putting freedom ideas in our heads (74) Tom Weylin and probably every other slave owner doesnt want their slaves to know much about anything. So this quote above is showing that at this time education was powerful but only for whites. An educated black person in this time could be a death sentence since what slave owner would want an educated slave? This is one of the reasons that education for Dana creates many problems, Tom Weylin is always looking for any reason to punish her because of it. In 1819 education means nothing and race means everything. Tom, Kevin, and Rufus all automatically have power. Tom Weylin has some form of education since he is able to read and write but I think that is the extent of his education. Rufus is behind on his education but he still has more power than Dana will ever have. This is important due to the fact that while Dana is in 1819 she starts to become more and more like a slave. She doesnt use her education as a tool everything she does is only done for her survival. Dana learns that her education isnt going to help her in this time period. Tom Weylin said this to Dana after she tried and failed to run away. See there, the old man said. Educated nigger dont mean smart nigger, do it? (175). This quote is very important to the understanding of the relationship of education and power. It means that there are many different kinds of education and the form of power it gives you changes over time. In 1819 being book smart meant nothing, if you were black you had to be smart enough to just survive. Dana is smart but not for this time and she has to change everything she does to have any form of power over Rufus and Tom.

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Dana takes control of her own life by having control over Rufuss life. This is how she gains power not through education but through fear. Fear is everywhere in Kindred, the slaves fear their masters, just like Tom and Rufus fear Dana. Both Rufus and the slaves fear their lives during Kindred; this is where Dana gains power over Rufus and even over Tom. Id dream about you and wake up in a cold sweat. Dreamabout me killing you? Not exactly. He paused, gave me a long unreadable look. Id dream about you leaving me. . But in my nightmares, you leave without helping me. You walk away and leave me in trouble, hurting, maybe dying (255). We see that Rufus is afraid of Dana in this statement as he tells Dana that she belongs with him. Rufus has nightmares over Dana leaving him, and in doing so letting him die. Toms fear for Dana was different than Rufus, where Rufus feared Dana letting him die Tom actually feared Dana herself. The only reason Tom put up with Dana is because she kept his son alive. When Rufus gets really sick Tom reveals what he truly thinks Dana. You do your job, he said stubbornly, and hell live. Youre something different. I dont know what witch, devil, I dont care. (206). This shows that Tom doesnt know what to really think of Dana, but he does know that she is different. In his mind she isnt human, she is either a witch or the devil but as long as Dana keeps Rufus safe he doesnt care. Not only does Tom fear Dana because he doesnt know what she is, he also fears her because she acts more like the white people of 1819 then the black people.

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Daddy always thought you were dangerous because you knew too many white ways, but you were black. Too black, he said. The kind of black who watches and thinks and makes trouble. I told that to Alice and she laughed. She said sometimes Daddy showed more sense than I did. She said he was right about you, and that Id find that out one day (255). This is where education really becomes a factor for Tom fearing Dana. He knows that she is different than the rest of the slaves that she pays more attention to her surroundings. He fears this about her because a smart slave could kill him or put ideas into the other slaves heads and that could cause them to rebel against their master. Both Rufus and Tom give Dana power over them by fearing her, her education only has a small amount to do with their fear. Octavia E. Butler portrays the relationship of education and power in a different way than how people would normally look at it. Power it represented through race, fear, and then education. It shows how education has over time has become more important and in the time of slavery it meant almost nothing. Slaves should not be educated and their masters only needed some education. Kindred is a great example of how education doesnt have to mean power, but education can spark fear in others and that fear can then cause power.

Work Citied
Butler, Octavia E.. Kindred. Boston, Massachusetts: Beacon Press , 1979. Print.