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Author Octavia E. Butler
Type of work Novel
Genre Bildungsroman, historical fiction, science fiction,
Time and place written Maryland, 1979
Date of first publication
Point of view First person
Tone Spare, straightforward, sober
1976 and early nineteeth century
Setting (place) California and Maryland
Major conflict Dana struggles to survive in antebellum Maryland.
Rising action Dana is taxed with saving Rufus’s life.
Climax Rufus attempts to rape Dana.
Falling action Dana kills Rufus.
Themes The corrupting influence of power; the bondage of familial
Motifs Violence, home, race
Symbols Whips, birthdays, maps
Foreshadowing Sarah’s warning foreshadows Rufus’s failure to mail
the letter; Dana’s fear of Rufus’s jealousy foreshadows Sam’s sale
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