A Comparison Of Butler's Life And Kindred

1915 words - 8 pages

A Comparison of Butler's Life and Kindred

 
What lies in the mind of an author as he or she begins the long task of writing a fiction novel? This question can be answered if the author's life is studied and then compared to the work itself. Octavia E. Butler's life and her novel Kindred have remarkable comparisons. This essay will point out important events of Butler's life and how they link to the mentioned novel.

Octavia Estelle Butler was born on June 22, 1947 in Pasadena, California (Voices From 1). She began her life with many hardships as an only child and having her father die when she was very young (Voices From 1). She grew up in a location that had a wide variety of racial backgrounds, however Butler never felt like she lived in a world of segregation (Notable Black 144). She describes the situation best when she states, "I never...lived in a segregated neighborhood nor went to segregated school; the whole community was an economic ghetto" (Notable Black 144). The lack of money sometimes creates a humble atmosphere and that must have been the case with Pasadena throughout her childhood.

Until this point it seems as if Butler had a very unhappy childhood, but the life that she was living was shaping her to become the great author that she is today. Trials can become positive experiences for one to grow and mature and this was definitely her case. Having been an only child, Butler spent most of her time surrounded by an adult crowd, presumably the acquaintances of her mother (Notable Black 144). Thus, she grew up as a "very solitary individual" (Notable Black 144). She was also inflicted with dyslexia, which made it very difficult for her to keep up with the rest of the children her age (Notable Black 144). Having a mixture of adultlike maturity and a learning disability caused an unusual effect in her character. She became bored with the books that were more common for children her age and became interested in fairy tales and horse stories (Black Women 208). She received a card for the public library and as she became more comfortable with reading she discovered that she was very interested in science fiction (Black Women 208). Science fiction became a false reality for Butler, however she was concerned for the lack of Black characters and the stereotypes that women received in the novels that she read (Black Women 208). These important events were the beginning of the process that would shape her into a feministic science fiction writer.

It wasn't until the eighth grade that she realized that she had become a very intelligent young woman (Notable Black 144). She often engaged in competitions with a friend of a different learning disorder to see which of the two could receive better grades. Until that point in her life she considered herself as not being very bright but when she started winning the competitions she described it as "the first time that I'd ever done anything to impress myself" (Notable Black 144). It...

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