Octavia Butler’s acclaimed science fiction novel Kindred employs the element of time travel to revisit the forgotten history of slavery in the Antebellum South / Maryland. To achieve this revival of memory, Butler summons her Modern, African American protagonist, Dana, and compels her to conduct these trips to the past in order to witness, remember and record the atrocities that occurred against blacks/slaves at the hands of the white figures/oppressors. These continuous remembrances reconstructed Dana’s understanding of her African / American cultural heritage which was completely neglected and redefined her present reality. Dana’s deep and abrupt confrontations with the traumatic past of her ancestors and her constant leaps to the modern present of the 1970s led to the realization that bitter history generates a stifling and traumatic memory. Also, in resuscitating the past, the present will be altered, reshaped, and perceived differently. Octavia Butler’s attempts to re-create this platform of historical agony evokes a necessary contemplation of how the blend between history and memory can be emotionally disturbing and gut-wrenching yet in their encounter with the present, can be awakening, momentous and enlightening.
Arige, Nouf A., "The Journey of Return: Reviving the Past to Redefine the Present" (2019). CUNY Academic Works.