Kindred

A slave on the Weylin estate, Nigel is the personal servant to Rufus and enjoys some of the advantages of living close to white people. Nigel does what he wishes despite the threat of whippings, like his father Luke. Yet Nigel is tied down on the Weylin plantation when he marries Carrie and has a son, Jude. Nigel eventually helps Dana cover up Rufus’s death and raises Joe and Hagar in Baltimore. Nigel consistently puts family above everything, as another character who displays the importance of kinship in the novel.

Nigel Quotes in Kindred

The Kindred quotes below are all either spoken by Nigel or refer to Nigel. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Family and Home Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Beacon Press edition of Kindred published in 2009.
Chapter 3: The Fall Quotes

“Why you try to talk like white folks?” Nigel asked me. “I don't,” I said, surprised. “I mean, this is really the way I talk.” “More like white folks than some white folks.”

Related Characters: Dana (Edana) Franklin (speaker), Nigel
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:
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Nigel Character Timeline in Kindred

The timeline below shows where the character Nigel appears in Kindred. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3: The Fall
Freedom and Privilege Theme Icon
Choice and Power Theme Icon
...Rufus explains that he fell from a tree and hurt his leg. The black boy, Nigel, is afraid of Dana until Rufus says that Dana is here to help. Dana sends... (full context)
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As they wait for Nigel to return, Dana asks Rufus if Nigel will get in trouble for leaving Rufus behind.... (full context)
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3. Tom arrives with a wagon, Nigel, and an older black man. Tom is suspicious of Kevin and Dana, but lets Kevin... (full context)
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Nigel comes out and stands next to Luke, allowing Dana to see that Nigel is probably... (full context)
Family and Home Theme Icon
History and Trauma Theme Icon
Freedom and Privilege Theme Icon
...leads Dana to the cookhouse, a small white cottage outside the Weylin house. Luke and Nigel are inside eating, with younger children sitting on the floor eating with their fingers. Dana... (full context)
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...that the other slaves are treating her coldly, but can’t figure out the reason until Nigel asks why Dana talks like a white person. Dana lies that her mother was a... (full context)
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...day, and tells her not to go in the library any more. But that night, Nigel asks Dana to teach him how to read. Aware of the risks if they are... (full context)
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...are often able to act as observers. Dana reveals that she has started to teach Nigel to read in order to relieve some of her guilt at her inability to change... (full context)
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Later, Dana goes to the cookhouse to give Nigel a reading lesson. She finds Nigel and Carrie hunched over books and the two children... (full context)
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Dana warns Nigel to be more careful than ever about letting someone find out about their reading, and... (full context)
Chapter 4: The Fight
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...of the library and tells the white man, Jake, to send for the doctor, while Nigel takes the wagon and get Rufus. (full context)
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The group finds Rufus with little difficulty. Nigel lifts Rufus carefully into the wagon and Dana feels his forehead, noticing he has a... (full context)
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Nigel comes up to tell Dana to call Sarah if she needs anything, and Dana welcomes... (full context)
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...Margaret’s cousin, Jake Edwards, has become the overseer. Sarah won’t say more, so Dana asks Nigel later what happened to Luke. Nigel quietly tells her that Luke was sold, and says... (full context)
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...shudders to think of trying to escape from a Louisiana plantation, and wonders aloud why Nigel stayed. Rufus explains that Nigel did try to run, but Patrollers brought him back. And... (full context)
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7. After five days, Isaac and Alice are caught. Two days later, Rufus and Nigel take the wagon into town – ostensibly to mail Dana’s letter, but really so that... (full context)
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Rufus and Nigel return late that night, with Alice barely alive in the back of the wagon. Rufus... (full context)
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...Dana’s absence for treating whites and blacks the same. Sarah warns Dana to check with Nigel to see if Rufus really sent her letter. Before Sarah leaves, she reveals that she... (full context)
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9. Dana asks Nigel about the letter the next day, but Nigel was on errands in town and only... (full context)
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...out to help with the birth, leaving Dana in charge of supper. Rufus has let Nigel earn money to buy things for a comfortable cabin next to the cookhouse, so Carrie... (full context)
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11. Carrie and Nigel name the baby Jude. Tom gives Nigel new clothes as a present, which Nigel accepts... (full context)
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...the whipping is finally over, Rufus carefully unties Dana and takes her into Carrie and Nigel’s cabin. Alice later tells Dana how Rufus insisted that all of Dana’s wounds be cleaned... (full context)
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...field. Jake isn’t supposed to dictate to the field hands, but losing an argument with Nigel has left him testy. Wary of Jake’s whip, Dana goes out to do the washing... (full context)
Chapter 5: The Storm
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...to the house but Rufus is too heavy. Dana goes to the door and gets Nigel, who comes outside and swings Rufus over his shoulder to carry him back to the... (full context)
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3. Back in Rufus’s room, Rufus is shaking with fever, and Nigel says that Rufus has the ague, and that the doctor won’t be necessary. Dana tells... (full context)
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...much trouble, and begins writhing in pain before he can say much more. Tom and Nigel come back in, and Dana asks Tom to send for the doctor. Tom refuses, telling... (full context)
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4. Nigel puts up the mosquito netting, telling Dana that Tom really is more afraid of her... (full context)
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Dana comes back in the room to find Nigel asleep on the floor and Rufus thrashing in his bed. She dissolves three aspirin in... (full context)
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Alice comes in a couple times, a bitter shell of the girl that Dana knew. Nigel tells Dana that the years of being with Rufus have caused the other slaves to... (full context)
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...She is grateful for the chance to catch up with life on the Weylin estate. Nigel now has three sons, and Alice clearly loves her son Joe even though Joe is... (full context)
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...Carrie rubs her fingers down Dana’s face, but Dana doesn’t understand. Carrie brings Dana to Nigel, who translates. Carrie means that Dana will always be black because of her skin, no... (full context)
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...to send herself home. To fill her time, Dana gets Rufus to let her teach Nigel’s sons along with Joe, though Rufus’s neighbors caution Rufus on the dangers of educating slaves.... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Rope
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Nigel comes in and sees Rufus bloody on top of Dana. Rufus moans once more and... (full context)
Epilogue
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...a list of the Weylin slaves, including everyone that Dana met in the past except Nigel, Carrie, Joe, and Hagar. Dana decides that Nigel must have set the fire, then escaped... (full context)
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Dana sighs, regretting the pain that her trips to the past caused for Nigel, Sarah, and the others. Kevin reminds her that there’s nothing they can do now. They... (full context)