In the only creative writing class I’ve ever taken, good fiction was defined as ending in a way that is unpredictable but feels exactly right, like nothing else could have possibly happened in the end.

   That’s what I think about the last few chapters of Kind One. When we find out that Ginny was the one to kill Linus, our understanding of her character, her guilt, and her need to be forgiven for her sins becomes much deeper. The text led us to believe that Cleome or Zinnia did the killing, and that they planned all along to force Ginny to sit beside dead Linus and to torture her for weeks. The fact that Ginny started this power-flip, and takes her punishment willingly, changes the nature of the novel (I’m also wondering if it was questionable of me to assume the slaves killed their master (and father), or if it’s questionable that Laird Hunt would take that opportunity for action and vengeance from them and give it to a white woman?)

   In short, I feel Ginny has far less to feel guilty for than she seems to think. She literally ended the oppression, or at least took the first step. She then consented to torture, psychological and physical, to make up for exactly what she subjected Zinnia and Cleome to for (presumably) years. She absolutely tries to make amends for what she did, and now has a murder on her conscience.

   It gives us a sense of how psychologically devastating her time in “paradise” was that Ginny still aches from guilt, fifty years after these events.


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