In the time period of American slavery, white slave masters did whatever they wanted to their African American slaves. The master’s feelings about their black slaves was complicated. The masters also could be kind and generous to their slaves and treat them like equal humans. Back then, black and white couldn’t be friends or lovers. In Kindred the main character, Dana, does not call her master, Rufus, master. Rufus also treats her differently than other black slave women around him. But the white men and black women couldn't make their relationship, because of the time period they were in. The author helps reader to understand the emotions by portraying love being love, no matter what difference is amongst the two in the relationship through expressing thoughts and events.
Rufus is the master of Alice whom he tries to control by making Alice love him, but he know that she never will. Rufus said,“I know you, Dana. You want Kevin the way I want Alice. And you had more luck than I did because no matter what happens now, for a while he wanted you too. Maybe I can’t ever have that-both wanting, both loving. But i’m not going to give up what I can have.” Page(163). From this quote “but I’m not going to give up what I can have”, is Rufus talking about Alice and how he has her in his heart, and is not letting her out of his sight because of the kind of love he has for her. He tries to rape her, sells her husband, and takes her son away from her, just to have full control over her. The problem that Rufus was not seeing is that, Alice is black and Rufus is white. Therefore they could not have a friendship or relationship because the politics during that time period made it difficult for their relationship to be accepted.
Throughout this book Dana show her intelligence and how strong minded she is to Rufus. She also shows Rufus that they do not have a slave and slave master relationship. The way she does this is by calling him, Rufe instead of master, yelling at Rufus, and making demands.This type of behavior Dana shows, is unusual for a slave to show their master. Since slaves were not suppose to talk back or show any signs of intelligence. So their relationship was shown by a kind that was lovingfull which not allowed at that time, and confused Kevin (a different slave) because Dana said, “he didn’t understand the kind of relationship Rufus and I had-how dependent we were on each other. Rufus understood though.” Page(186) For when she says “he didn’t understand” shows that the “he”, represents the politics which were the people (like Rufus’s father) who didn’t allow black and white to be together, couldn’t “understand” the relationship Dana and Rufus had. As well “how dependent we were on each other” shows the love that was between them two, for they were “dependent” being reliable amongst one another. “Rufus understood though”, proving that he had knowledge of the connection of the type of relationship, because of the name calling and affection shown.
In conclusion, Rufus always loved Dana and tried to force his love upon her by control and not giving up on what he already had. Dana showed him that she was much smarter and strong minded, to overcome Rufus and his attempt to control. Also since she wasn’t fully focused on the love he had for her, but instead focused on the love she had for Kevin. Which proves how there wasn’t a both loving relationship among them because of what each had and believed. So, white men and black women can try friendship, and try to get closer to each other, but they can’t because the time period at the time made it difficult. Dana was a black women, and Rufus was a white man and so he try to make friendship between her, but couldn’t because of the situations of how things were (what he did) and also what each individual believed during that time, because based upon the politics of what they lived through it made them think that black were for black and white were white for white, making their relationship difficult. Also any time there is such a large difference in power, there will always be conflict.