Kindred Imagery

The First Whipping (Imagery)

The first whipping Dana observes–that of Alice's mother's lover–is horrific and burns itself into her brain. She smells him, hears the whip on his body, and sees him convulsing.

The Coffles (Imagery)

The imagery of the coffles–one including Tess and one including Sam–is stunningly heartbreaking. Dana sees firsthand how slaves are sold for capricious reasons, leaving behind friends and family. When Dana calls out to Tess and she does not answer, it is hard to stomach.

Dana's Farewell to Alice (Imagery)

Dana's goodbye to Alice as she and Kevin prepare to leave the plantation is poignant and bitter, for Alice refuses to turn around and wave back. This reinforces the problematic nature of Dana and Alice's sisterhood, for Dana could not often give Alice what she needed or what she should have given her.

Dana's Final Return to the Present (Imagery)

One of the most powerful images in the novel is one that is hard to even picture in one's mind: Dana stabs Rufus, Rufus falls on her and lies on her arm, she is transported back to the present, and the arm that he was touching fuses into the wall. It is gruesome and reminds readers of the sacrifices required of Dana.