Violence is ever-present in Kind One thus far. Violence is clearly used as a means of maintaining a power hierarchy but interestingly, violence also seems to be a language used to express power relationships. When Ginny first arrives at Linus’s home, she learns this language of violence from her new husband. Through constant beatings and rape, Linus insists his control over both his wife and his slaves. Still adjusting to this brutal systematic violence, Ginny seems to consider the slave girls, Cleome and Zinnia, to be in a somewhat relatable position to herself at first. Ginny takes care of these young women in her first years in Linus’s home, even protecting them from Linus’s violence on at least one occasion. Ginny fails to understand that Linus’s slaves were subject to even greater levels of violence and subjugation than she was. This is particularly apparent on page 26 where Ginny laughs at the idea of Cleome hiding from Linus to avoid being beaten with a switch, not realizing that Linus’s violence toward Cleome may be much more severe than that toward Ginny and furthermore that Cleome lives in a system of violence that is even more oppressive than the one Ginny lives in.
Several years after her arrival, Ginny’s behavior toward Cleome and Zinnia begins to change. Having suffered years of brutal violence herself and having witnessed the subordinate hierarchal position of the slaves, as expressed through Linus’s violent behavior, Ginny begins to engage in these acts of violence against the slave women. Shortly after Linus begins raping Cleome and Zinnia every night, Ginny slaps the two girls while they are taking a bath providing no explanation for the violence. After the first slap, Ginny feels that the water the girls were bathing in is cold. Ginny then explains that the water she bathes in is heated by the two slave women. Perhaps more fully recognizing her superior position in the social hierarchy, Ginny then starts slapping them repeatedly until her “hand hurts.” As this selection continues, Ginny’s violence against the slave girls becomes more consistent and severe until the slaves kill Linus and Cleome and Zinnia briefly control the home. Rather than killing Ginny as well, they make the same violent gestures Ginny used to express her superior hierarchal position against Ginny herself. By reenacting violence, Cleome and Zinnia expressed their new freedom from Linus and Ginny’s control through the reversal of previous power relationships.
Ginny and the slaves learned the language of violence from Linus. When Ginny began to feel increasingly powerless, she engaged in violence to insist upon her hierarchal superiority to Linus’s slaves. And when Cleome and Zinnia find themselves no longer under the brutal rule of Linus and Ginny, the redefine their hierarchal position by using the violence of their oppressors.