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Haunted PropertySlavery and the Gothic$
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Sarah Gilbreath Ford

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781496829696

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2021

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496829696.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM Mississippi SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mississippi.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Mississippi, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

Claiming the Property of History in Octavia Butler’s Kindred and Natasha Trethewey’s Native Guard

Claiming the Property of History in Octavia Butler’s Kindred and Natasha Trethewey’s Native Guard

Chapter:
(p.154) Chapter Five Claiming the Property of History in Octavia Butler’s Kindred and Natasha Trethewey’s Native Guard
Source:
Haunted Property
Author(s):

Sarah Gilbreath Ford

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496829696.003.0006

This chapter examines Octavia Butler’s Kindred (1979), a postmodern novel involving a woman from 1976 traveling back through time to the nineteenth-century world of slavery, and Natasha Trethewey’s Native Guard (2006), a poetry collection focusing on the death of Trethewey’s mother and the forgotten history of black Union soldiers stationed at Ship Island, Mississippi, during the Civil War. Both texts show the haunting caused by the conflation of people with property, and both reverse the direction of this haunting to show the present haunting the past. This chapter argues that these narratives not only reveal that slavery haunts us; they expose how we haunt slavery. Through the haunting backwards allowed by time travel, the authors claim the property of history, a claim that rewrites the paradigm of power in slavery.

Keywords:   Octavia Butler, Kindred, Natasha Trethewey, Native Guard, Haunting, Time travel

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