The main objective of this novel was for a woman to make sure her ancestor would be born in order for her own existence. The woman must make sure that a plantation owner grows old enough for her slave ancestor and him to conceive. Also, the woman is to learn more about herself, her ancestors, and slavery. She has to learn the hardships of being a slave and also learn how to put your hate to the side in order to save the life of someone else. Human is human no matter the race or skin color.
The novel starts off with a black woman, Dana Franklin who lived in California with her husband a white man named Kevin Franklin during the year 1976. Dana and Kevin had just moved into their new home and was unpacking when Dana begun to feel faint. She passed out and found herself in some woods seeing a young boy in the water drowning. She rushes into the water to save him and rushes back to shore where she spots the boy’s mother. She brings the boy back to life only to turn around and have the boy’s father have a gun pointed directly in her face. Due to her fear she finds herself awaken in her home again with Kevin after only having been passed out for a few seconds. But when she awakens she finds that she is no longer in the same spot she was when she passed out. Dana later learns that the boy she saved was her great great grandfather and that wouldn’t be her last time seeing him. The young boy’s name was Rufus Weylin and he was at first the son of a slave owner. Rufus later becomes in charge of the plantation and become a slave master as his father once was due to his father’s death from a heart attack. Dana often time traveled between her time of 1976 and Rufus’ time of 1819 to save Rufus or rather show up whenever he was near death. Without his survival she wouldn’t had been able to exist. Her great great grandmother, Alice Greenwood, was a free woman like her mother when she was younger but as she got older she too became a slave like so many other blacks during that time. Alice hated Rufus because he attempted to rape her once and her husband beat him almost to death until Dana showed and prevented him from doing so. Alice and her husband ran away towards a freedom state but to no avail because they would eventually get caught and Rufus would go and buy Alice to make her his permanently. Although, Rufus loved Alice and didn’t really show it the way normal people would have she blamed him for her husband being beaten and sold away far from her. Eventually Rufus and Alice ended up having sexual relations by no choice of Alice and they had two children together. Dana eventually convinced Rufus of making his and Alice’s children, Joe and Hagar, free blacks because she felt he owed them that much since he drove Alice to commit suicide. Rufus tried to convince Dana not to leave and go back to her time but it was to no avail. Eventually she had to kill the monster which held a lot lives in the palm of its hands. She stabs Rufus a few times in the attic of his home with dying while still gripping her arm. When she returns back to her world she finds her arm stuck in wall as though it was grown from the in the exact spot where Rufus held her. Alice had the opportunity to better understand her family history, slavery, and she discovered things about herself she never knew was there until she was put into a certain situation.
While reading this novel, one question continuously kept popping up in my head. If many African Americans or just really any race for that matter had to endure the hardships that slaves had to would we be able to survive? I ask this in the sense that after we have become to luxuries we have today and it was all taken from us would be able to survive and make due with the little we had or the beatings that were giving? Honestly, I would have to say no. People now-a-days have become very lazy and I mean this for blacks, whites, Asians, Chicanos, Latinos, and just people in general. I think people have forgotten the true meaning of hard work. We complain about going to work to answer phones, or file papers, or even serve people with a smile and ask them “Good Afternoon, welcome to McDonald’s how may I help you?” As the years pass humans try to find more and more ways of inventing things or having machines do work we can do. Slaves were able to cook, work long hours without pay, help each other out during times of need and so forth on a day to day basis. No one helps anyone but their selves anymore and everyone only thinks of them instead of working together and accomplishing so much more. With that being said I do realize one thing we still have in common with the nineteenth century is that we still look at skin color as a way of determining who can benefit who. White people are very hesitant to hire Black people because they are thought of to be lazy and still thought of to be not as intelligent as White people so many. It has been said black people don’t take their jobs seriously and whites are a little too stiff and serious about their jobs. Also, Mexicans and other Spanish ethnicities will pretty much work for anything. This novel opened my eyes to things we take for granted everyday. Being half African American and half Puerto Rican, I realized the one thing we take for granted everyday and that is simply our freedom. We don’t have to any longer worry about answering to someone else and being punished for not obeying. We all need to open our eyes and appreciate what we have.
This novel was the best novel I have ever had to read for a class. I did not want to put the novel down but the only thing that caused me to do so were engagements I had back at home. I found this novel to be so informative and made me wonder “What if…?” quite a bit. I thought it was kind of strange at first how Dana was able to travel back and forth through time but eventually I got over it. I found myself having so many different emotions while reading this book. There was anger, happiness, sorrow, worry and so many more. I am glad everything worked out and I am glad Dana went through it because I feel it helped her learn about herself a lot more and to learn to appreciate her life as well as that of her ancestors.