Archetype Of Kindred Hero's Journey

Words: 1948
Pages: 8

Octavia Butler’s novel Kindred tells the story of Dana Franklin, an African-American woman who gets called back into the past during the time of slavery to preserve her family history by saving her ancestor, the son of a plantation owner, from death. It is a long, painful journey for her, but ultimately she succeeds. Using an archetypal critical lens to analyze this work can reveal the way Dana’s story fits into the archetype of the hero’s journey. Throughout the novel, she moves through, in one way or another, the twelve stages modified from Joseph Campbell’s outline for the journey of a hero and emerges a new, changed person.
Stage one of the hero’s journey is the ordinary world. “The hero, uneasy, uncomfortable or unaware, is introduced
…show more content…
The fourth stage of the hero’s journey is meeting with a mentor, and while several of the characters in Kindred serves as a mentor at one time or another in the novel, the main one that fits into this stage is Kevin. The mentor is considered to be someone who, more traditionally, “provides the adventurer with amulets against the dragon forces he is about to pass” (Campbell 69), or, more modernly, “gives him or her training, equipment, or advice that will help on the journey’ (The Hero’s Journey Outline). Kevin helps Dana prepare for her journey as best as he can once he realizes she must go on it. He helps her gather supplies she’ll need: “Then he reached over to me into the canvas bag and brought out the switchblade” (Butler 47). Along with physical supplies, he helps her find information to help her fit into the past world she has to inhabit. “Moments later, he came back and dumped an armload of books onto the bed” (48). Finally, he brings her to the realization that she has some sort of power over when she returns to the present, saying, “Your danger then – or assumed danger – might have sent you home before you even met the patroller” (50). This knowledge is important as it allows Dana to have a slightly greater say to what happens to her on her journey. In each of these ways, Kevin serves as a mentor that prepares Dana to go on her hero’s