Kindred by Olivia Butler - Rufus' Evil and Inhumane Nature

Topics: Slavery, Slavery in the United States, Responsibility Pages: 5 (2102 words) Published: August 5, 2014
Rufus Weylin; a character first perceived as a young, curious and innocent boy, turns in to an over-obsessive and miserable tyrant. In Octavia Butler's novel _Kindred_, the book revolves around the horrors of slavery in the United States in the early eighteen hundreds. White characters are given absolute power and control over black characters, and treat them like animals, making them live a long life of misery and unhappiness. As _Kindred_ unfolds, it becomes clear that Rufus turns in to a stereotypical slave owner and abuser. With every trip that Dana makes back to Rufus, there is a clear distinction of changes in his personality. He becomes more evil, over-obsessive and cruel as he gets older. In fact, he becomes very much like his father Tom Weylin, which in his childhood he never wants to be. However, this does not excuse the horrible actions that he commits towards his black slaves. Although at his time some white men do have slaves as servants, not everybody does, and not everybody has to. Rufus misuses the power of his freewill, and causes lots of physical and emotional pain to everybody around him. He feels like he is entitled to anything and everything, and gets extremely frustrated when things do not go as he plans. Rufus does not ever take personal responsibility and blames everybody around him for his problems and failures. Rufus Weylin is truly an evil person, which is a result of his personal choice, his over obsessive and possessive nature and his lack of responsibility.

Oscar Wilde once said, "Society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world there are only individuals." In the eighteen hundreds, many black people were enslaved by white men. However, not every white man in the United States had slaves. Furthermore, not every white man supported slavery. Rufus is never obligated to own slaves either. Just because society says that it is acceptable to do so, does not mean that Rufus has to. Rufus, unlike the slaves he owns, is a free man with power and choice to do however he pleases. He owns slaves because he chooses to own slaves, and he treats them horribly because he has the power to do so. "Marse Rufe can get mad and make things mighty hard for you."(Butler, 150) Any rebellion shown on behalf of the slaves towards Rufus always results in a brutal punishment or a serious threat. ""You walk away from me, Dana, you'll be back in the fields in an hour!" The threat stunned me. He meant it. He'd send me back out. I stood staring at him, not with anger now, but with surprise - and fear. He could do it."(Butler, 214) Rufus' father, Tom Weylin leaves him a lot of power after his death. Rufus comes to be fully in charge of anything the Weylin's family possesses; the plantation, the house, the farms and the slaves. Rufus is no longer pressured to please his father. He is able to make independent decisions. This of course applies to some of the horrible decisions he makes as well. Rufus loves and desires his childhood friend Alice. Alice does not love Rufus back. In fact, she is married to Isaac Jackson. However, Rufus does not see this as an obstacle. He rapes and beats Alice on several occasions, both before and after Isaac's departure. Nobody ever told Rufus that this is a way to get a woman to love him. In actuality, Dana warns him that he is destroying Alice and any chance of her ever loving and accepting him. Rufus does not take her advice, and does according to what he feels is best. By choosing to rape and abuse Alice despite Dana's advice, Rufus shows that he is not easy to influence and only abides by his evil nature.

Rufus always wants things to go his way, and if they do not - he gets extremely frustrated, upset and irrational. It is in Rufus' character to be over-obsessive and possessive, and it is seen in him from a very young age. ""I burned a stable once," he said. "I wanted Daddy to give me Nero - a horse I liked. But he sold him to Reverend Wyndham just because Revered Wyndham...

Cited: Butler, Octavia E. _Kindred_. Boston: Beacon, 2003. Print.
Wilde, Oscar. "Oscar Wilde Quote." _BrainyQuote_. Xplore, n.d. Web. 04 Aug. 2014. .
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • The Nature of Evil Essay
  • The Nature of Evil Essay
  • Essay about "Kindred" by Octavia Butler
  • Hobbes and Butler on Human Nature Essay
  • African American and Octavia Butlers Kindred Research Paper
  • Essay about Human Nature: Good or Evil?
  • Human Nature: Good or Evil? Essay
  • The Nature of Good and Evil Research Paper

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free