How does Dana’s character, attitude, or personality help or hinder her in the 1800s?

Your Kindred paper is a researched argument. That means that your argument about Kindred remains front and center. The research will possibly: aid you in making your argument, provide factual information or background, and/or offer alternative views. You can use a mix of primary, secondary, and reference sources. There will be other guidelines given about sources below.

You may answer the following prompts for your paper:

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How does Dana’s character, attitude, or personality help or hinder her in the 1800s?

Paper Basics

The paper should be at least four pages double-spaced (not including the Works Cited page) with 12-point, Times New Roman font, 1-inch margins. Include a heading and give your paper a descriptive, interesting title (not “Kindred Paper”).

What is the paper structure?

A good paper has an introduction with a clear thesis (your main argument/claim) that you will support with your body paragraphs. Each of your body paragraphs should be well-developed with at least two pieces of evidence (from Kindred) and corresponding analysis.

For each body paragraph:

Each topic sentence should have a clear claim or argument that is a supporting point to your overall thesis.
Evidence should be a mix of quotation, summary, and even visual description. In each paragraph, use varied evidence to support each claim. For example, if you want to discuss the relationship between Kevin and Dana, use a piece of evidence from a flash back to their meeting and a piece of evidence from their interactions in the 1800s.
Analysis should explain the significance of the evidence and/or explain how the evidence you’ve provided proves the claim.

For more on good organization and how to add sources for this paper, go here: Kindred Paper Organization.

Using Evidence from Kindred

See the following page for some good guidelines for using evidence: Using Evidence from Kindred

You may also use the Kindred Review

Actifor some quote and topic ideas.


In your interpretations of the novel, try to “plant a naysayer” in your writing. Remember that these are just templates. They are basic argumentative moves to help improve your writing; you may adjust them however you see fit. Remember, too, that these templates can be used as the main argument (thesis) or simply as moves to help you analyze particular scenes:

Some might claim that evidence X suggests _____, but I argue that, on the contrary, it suggests ______.

Some might read this scene as evidence of _____, but on closer examination, it’s clear that _____.
On first reading Kindred, I thought it was an uncritical celebration of _____. However, I now see that the novel is more critical of _____ than I originally thought. [Be careful with this one–don’t set up a false argument or a “straw man”.]
It might be said that Kindred (or some scene/character in Kindred) is chiefly about ____. But the problem with this reading, in my view, is ______.
At several places in Kindred, Octavia Butler leads us to understand that the story’s central point is that _____. Yet elsewhere the text suggests _____, indicating that Butler may be ambivalent on this issue.

Close Reading

Remember that your argument should stem from your analysis of small details. Consider the lesson on “With the Grain” readings and “Against the Grain” readings.


What are the basic requirements the paper and for using sources?

You must have at least three sources (no more than five), not including Kindred itself. You should quote or paraphrase each source at least twice in your paper—but your quotations should not take over your paper. About ¾ of the paper should be your own thoughts and analysis.

You must use in-text citation correctly and provide a Works Cited entry for each source. All sources consulted must be acknowledged and cited.

You should also cite Kindred, the graphic novel (again, it’s not one of your three sources). You will need the Works Cited entry for the graphic novel and you should use in-text citation for each page number you reference: (Butler 26).

Butler, Octavia. Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation, adapted by Damian Duffy, illustrated by John Jennings, Abrams ComicArts, 2017.

Are there any requirements for the kind of sources?

At least one source should be a scholarly source found using the HCC databases or Google Scholar. Wikipedia can be consulted for factual information that will help guide you, but you should avoid using and citing Wikipedia or other unreliable or too-basic reference sources (, etc.).

There is no guideline for the dates of publication, but recent is often better.
the book:

Introduction to Octavia Butler’s Kindred

(Graphic Novel adaptation)

books can provide good introductions, which you can often find online through Google Books or through HCCs Ebooks. If you use a book with a table of contents by multiple authors, you will need a particular kind of citation.

Many of the scholarly articles you find will be complicated and use a lot of terminology that might not be familiar to you. Notice, too, that the goal of scholarly articles is to engage in an ongoing critical conversation, so they will be citing many other sources themselves. Be cognizant of when a writer is discussing another writer. Read through the whole source at least once but then reread with purpose and pick out what you think will be the most useful information.

Like with the short story paper, you may consider using literary criticism (articles and arguments published about Octavia Butler’s Kindred, including the original novel) and/or historical reference in the form of primary or secondary materials.

How do I cite my sources?:

Follow the instructions here: Research and MLA Citation Guide.

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