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Kevin’s whiteness

An interesting idea came to me during class and I would like to expand upon it to see what you guys’ input is. I was thinking about the inter-racial marriage and the hierarchical structures existing between both race and gender and how that is inescapably no matter how much love the relationship possesses, and as I was thinking these things, a description of Kevin popped out of nowhere. Interestingly, according to the book, not only is Kevin Caucasian American, but he is literally ‘white’ in color. Here are a few physical descriptions: “pale, almost colorless eyes” (pg. 13), “his hair completely gray” (pg. 54). I began to get the description that he was the “whitest” of the characters. This is interesting, because although he is neither a “good” guy or a “bad” guy(character), he is the closest there is to good. He is married to a black woman and loves her and works in the 19th century to free slaves. So, why is he physically the whitest? Is it to prove a point that “white” people can be good? To contrast Dana and he more clearly? To contrast Rufus and he more? I don’t know, but I thought this was an interesting idea. Butler didn’t have to make this decision, and I am curious what her intent was. As the internet was very unhelpful, if anyone has insight, please add your thoughts!

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. katelongoria
    March 29, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    This is a really interesting observation! I agree that Kevin’s physical description wasn’t at all unintentional. This also makes me think of other characters like Rufus. He has red hair, and so you have to think of the symbolic connections to the color: blood, power, lust, anger. Really, really interesting stuff!

  2. meganvestal
    March 29, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    His whiteness almost seems angelic in a way…where as the Rufus’s red hair and scruffiness make him seem rather devilish. There is a chapter in How to Read Literature like A Professor which discusses how authors ‘mark’ their characters for ‘evil’ and ‘greatness.’ I also think the choice was intentional. I also think it is interesting the after being in the south Kevin gains some of Rufus’s external traits, such as the accent. It goes back to that idea of the corrupting influence of the south. Awesome Point!

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