What was the Underground Railroad and how did it work?
- During the era of slavery, the Underground Railroad was a network of routes, places, and people that helped enslaved people in the American South escape to the North. The name “Underground Railroad” was used metaphorically, not literally. It was not an actual railroad, but it served the same purpose—it transported people long distances.
Is the Underground Railroad realistic?
Adapted from Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer-award-winning novel, The Underground Railroad is based on harrowing true events. The ten-parter tells the story of escaped slave, Cora, who grew up on The Randall plantation in Georgia.
How old is Cora in Underground Railroad?
Cora, who is 15 years old when the book begins, has a very difficult life on the plantation, in part because she has conflicts with the other slaves.
Is Ridgeway in the Underground Railroad white?
Ridgway is more honest about the reality of America than many other white characters in the novel, refusing to uphold myths about the country and its history. He is obsessed by his failure to capture Mabel and Cora, and he ends up being killed by Cora in Indiana in a final physical battle that resembles a dance.
Were there tunnels in the Underground Railroad?
Contrary to popular belief, the Underground Railroad was not a series of underground tunnels. While some people did have secret rooms in their houses or carriages, the vast majority of the Underground Railroad involved people secretly helping people running away from slavery however they could.
Does the Underground Railroad still exist?
It includes four buildings, two of which were used by Harriet Tubman. Ashtabula County had over thirty known Underground Railroad stations, or safehouses, and many more conductors. Nearly two-thirds of those sites still stand today.
Was Valentine farm a real place?
The article uses the novel’s example of Valentine Farm, a fictional 1850s black settlement in Indiana where protagonist Cora lands after her rescue from a fugitive slave catcher by Royal, a freeborn black radical and railroad agent.
What did Royal do to Cora?
Of course Cora carries them with her. This exchange occurs at the tail end of a date in which Royal has taken Cora horseback riding and taught her how to shoot a gun.
Is Cora a real person in the Underground Railroad?
Cora in Amazon’s The Underground Railroad is played by South African actress Thuso Mbedu. Thuso Nokwanda Mbedu was born on 8 July 1991 in Pelham, the South African borough of Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. Mbedu was raised by her grandmother, who was her legal guardian after both of her parents died at an early age.
What was Ridgeway’s father’s great spirit?
Ridgeway’s father was a blacksmith who had a “half-breed” friend called Tom Bird. When drunk, Tom would talk about the “Great Spirit” that connects everything on Earth.
How did Cora get away from Ridgeway?
Ridgeway took Cora’s escape from the Randall plantation personally. Her mother, Mabel, had been the only slave to get away, and he wanted to make sure that didn’t happen with Cora. It turned out that Mabel met a sad fate in her unintended (without Cora, anyway) escape.
Who is Homer to Ridgeway?
Homer is a young black boy who is part of Ridgeway’s gang. Ridgeway purchased him for $5 before buying his freedom, but Homer still chooses to stay with Ridgeway and even voluntarily chains himself to Ridgeway’s wagon at night.
What state ended slavery first?
In 1780, Pennsylvania became the first state to abolish slavery when it adopted a statute that provided for the freedom of every slave born after its enactment (once that individual reached the age of majority). Massachusetts was the first to abolish slavery outright, doing so by judicial decree in 1783.
How many runaway slaves were there?
Approximately 100,000 American slaves escaped to freedom.
In Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, Ralph Ellison Meets Stephen King
In addition to coordinating preservation and education efforts across the country, the National Park Service Underground Railroad program integrates local historical sites, museums, and interpretive programs associated with the Underground Railroad into a mosaic of local, regional, and national stories. As well as facilitating contact between scholars and interested parties, the Network contributes to the establishment of statewide organizations dedicated to the preservation and investigation of Underground Railroad locations.
Colson Whitehead: ‘To deal with this subject with the gravity it deserved was scary’
In the midst of writing a novel about the digital economy, Colson Whitehead was struck by the phantom of an old thought. Despite the fact that the 47-year-old had been working as a critic for the Village Voice since his twenties and has subsequently produced five novels and two non-fiction works, the author was in what he describes as “the constantly melancholy attitude” that is his default setting while writing. In his words, “I normally have two or three ideas flying around in my head.” “During my spare time, the one I end up thinking about the most is the one I end up pursuing,” says the author.
The novel Whitehead eventually wrote was The Underground Railroad, which tells the narrative of Cora, a 15-year-old slave who escapes from a plantation in Georgia through the use of the Underground Railroad.
The rights to the show have been purchased by Barry Jenkins, the director of the Academy Award-winning filmMoonlight, and Whitehead has experienced a makeover over the past six months as a result.
So that’s something fresh, and it’s a wonderful feature.” Will the gloomy mood return once more?
“I’m assuming that once I get into a new book, my body temperature will return to its normal average.” However, I have been thoroughly enjoying it.
Putting money down for my children’s college education, purchasing new clothing, and generally walking around in a pleasant attitude are some of my plans.” At a cafe near Whitehead’s home in midtown Manhattan, where he lives with his wife, Julie Barer (also a literary agent), and their little son, who is three years old, we talk about his writing.
- As one of four children of wealthy entrepreneurs, Whitehead grew up in Manhattan with his mother and father.
- He and his brother occupied a position of luxury that was deemed so inaccessible to African Americans that the parents of white students began to wonder whether he and his brother were indeed African kings.
- “Posh,” he says, referring to the word for “posh.” “Upscale; bourgeois ideals,” says the author.
- The Hamptons were a little too wealthy for me after I went to college, and they didn’t seem to match the principles I was adopting in my late teens, so I moved away.
- He laughs as he recalls his discovery of the restaurant after September 11, 2001: “it was a wonderful, quiet spot to hang out.” Success on a very different level.
- Photograph courtesy of PR Whitehead’s parents were the owners of an executive recruiting agency, and they were less than thrilled when he declared his wish to pursue a writing career.
- He had been a “goody-goody” up until he got to Harvard, according to Whitehead, and had fulfilled all of his parents’ expectations of him.
- Then he went to college and changed his mind.
- Irritatingly, he says, “I was available to hang around.” “At the time, the Department of English was a highly orthodox institution.
- So I would enroll in courses in the theatre department – not for performing, but for studying plays – as well as in the African American studies department, which at the time was in a state of disarray, prior to the arrival of Henry Louis Gates.
- I had a game of cards.
But it was there that I first met James Joyce and Thomas Pynchon, as well as a slew of other great authors and works that I continue to turn to for inspiration and structure today.” In 2014, Whitehead published The Noble Hustle, a poker memoir that was adapted from a magazine piece based on the seven days he spent in Las Vegas participating in the World Series of Poker.
- It boasts one of the finest subtitles ever: Poker, Beef Jerky, and Death, to name a few examples.
- “It’s a new elevator, newly pressed to the tracks, and it’s not built to fall this rapidly,” Whitehead writes.
- John Updike and Stephen King are among the authors of commercial literary fiction, as are Norman Mailer and Judith Krantz.
- So that meant reading Tom Wolfe and The Bell Jar, as well as horror and comic books – all of which inspired me to create.
- Her books were always released on the 10th of December, so we knew exactly what to purchase her for Christmas every year.
- To be really honest, that felt like a lot to me.
When my first book was eventually published and they were able to hold it in their hands and read reviews of it, they finally stopped nagging me to find a “real job.” The concept for The Underground Railroad came to Whitehead quite early in his career – in 2000, just after the publication of his first book.
- According to Whitehead, those difficult years were instructional.
- However, if you were in the paper, you were able to write for a variety of areas, and they were willing to give you a fair go provided you were in the building on a daily basis and underfoot.
- “Even if it turned out to be dumb.” It was clear that his teenage self-assurance had its limits.
- He was certain that he intended to write about the conduits that slaves used to escape from farms in the southern United States to those in the northern United States.
- His main character, he believed, would be a young and unmarried man, as he himself was at the time of writing.
- The notion “seemed like a decent idea when I came up with it in 2000,” he recalls, “but I didn’t think I could pull it off at the time.” “I didn’t consider myself to be a good enough writer.
- As a result, I steered clear of it.
And then, a few of years ago, I began to wonder if perhaps the frightening book was the one you were intended to be reading.” The heroine was no longer a guy in his mid-20s, but a teenage girl named Cora, who had followed in her mother’s footsteps as a runaway.
In this section, Whitehead concentrates on the relationships between slaves, which are typically romanticized in more superficial representations of slavery.
And that include thinking about people who have been traumatized, brutalized, and dehumanized throughout their whole lives, as well.
Everyone is going to be fighting for the one additional mouthful of breakfast in the morning, fighting for the one extra piece of property they can get their hands on.
Cora is a fictional character created by author Charles Dickens.
Those two incidents, in my opinion, said volumes about who she was and what she would do to protect herself.” While researching for the book, Whitehead spent a significant amount of time combing through oral history archives, in particular the 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery collected by the Federal Writers’ Project in the 1930s, at a time when the last survivors of slavery were in their 90s, which is incredible considering their age.
- He claims that the information he received about slavery was pitifully inadequate while he was in school.
- I believe things have improved significantly.
- Picture taken by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for TIME Whitehead also desired to write about parents and children in a more generalized manner.
- Cora’s passion is fueled by her affection for and rage at her mother, Mabel.
- And both of those factors distort Cora’s perspective and cause her to behave in a variety of ways throughout the novel.
- What happened to Mabel is the book’s great shock, and the suspense surrounding it is what drives much of the story’s narrative forward.
- Answer: Of course he did not feel uncomfortable.
- Although the stakes were high in this novel – if she was detected, she would be put to death – I believe it necessitated a different approach than in some other works due to the nature of the situation.
- Moreover, I believe that the plot, like humour or the type of narrator you employ, is simply a tool that you employ for the right story at the right time.” Whitehead is recharging his batteries right now.
- He’s not in a rush at all.
- “I take pleasure in my downtime.
Even when I’m not working, I put in my time, but I believe my wife was concerned when we first started dating that I sat around all the time.” And after that, what? He cracks a grin. “And then the self-loathing comes in, and I have to get back to work,” says the author.
“The Underground Railroad,” directed by Barry Jenkins, explores two historical legacies. One is unsightly and horrifying, a ringing echo of an organization that stripped human people of their culture and identity and enslaved them for the sake of profiting from their labor. The other is beautiful and thrilling, and it is defined by strength and determination. Even while these two legacies have been entwined for 400 years, there have been few few films that have examined their unsettling intersection as carefully and cohesively as Jenkins’s adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.
- Following Cora (Thuso Mbedu) and a protecting fellow slave named Caesar (Aaron Pierre) as they flee from a Georgia farm under the threat of a vengeful slave catcher, the narrative is told in flashback.
- The Amazon Prime series, which premieres on Friday and will be available for streaming thereafter, comes at a time when there is rising discussion over shows and films that concentrate on Black agony.
- I used the stop button a lot, both to collect my thoughts and to brace myself for what was about to happen.
- Cora suffers a series of setbacks as she makes her way to freedom, and her anguish is exacerbated by the death of her mother, Mabel (Sheila Atim), who emigrated from the plantation when Cora was a youngster and died there.
- Unlike any other drama on television, this one is unique in how it displays the resilience and tenacity of Black people who have withstood years of maltreatment in a society established on contradictory concepts of freedom.
- There, she becomes a part of the growing Black society there.
- In this community, however, there is also conflict between some of the once enslaved Black people who built the agricultural community and Cora, who is deemed to be a fugitive by the authorities.
The series takes on a nostalgically patriotic tone since it is set against the backdrop of the American heartland.
This is when Jenkins’s hallmark shot, in which actors maintain a lingering focus on the camera, is at its most impactful.
The urgent and scary horn of a train is skillfully incorporated into composerNicholas Britell’s eerie and at times comical soundtrack.
Even after finding safety in the West, Cora is still wary of Ridgeway (Joel Edgerton), the slave hunter who is determined to track her down.
Despite the fact that “The Underground Railroad” delves into Ridgeway’s fears and personal shortcomings that drove him to his murderous vocation, it does not offer any excuses for his heinous behavior.
Dillon, who plays an outstanding part), a little Black child who is officially free but who acts as the slave catcher’s constant companion while being formally in his possession.
For a few precious minutes, the youngster pretends to be the child he once was by holding the weapon and playing with it.
After Amazon commissioned a focus group in which they questioned Black Atlanta residents if they thought Whitehead’s novel should be adapted for the screen, the director informed the press that he made the decision to proceed.
It was like, ‘Tell it, but you have to demonstrate everything,'” says the author.
‘It has to be nasty,’ says the author “Jenkins spoke with the New York Times.
Over the course of the week that I spent viewing “The Underground Railroad,” I found myself becoming increasingly interested in the amateur genealogical research I’d done on my own family, which is descended in part from African American slaves.
However, some of my ancestors’ stories have made their way to me, including those of my great-great-great-grandmother, who returned to her family in Virginia after years of being sold to a plantation owner in Mississippi; and the male relatives in her line who defiantly changed their surnames so that their children wouldn’t bear the name of a man who owned people for profit.
Pain is abundant, and the series invites us to express our sorrow.
Wait, but don’t take your eyes off the prize. There’s a lot more to Cora’s tale than meets the eye. The Underground Railroad (ten episodes) will be available for streaming on Amazon Prime starting Friday. (Full disclosure: The Washington Post is owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.)
Book Review: Colson Whitehead unearths America’s founding dystopia
Contributor to PhiladelphiaVoice We normally think of dystopian futures as the stuff of comedy and science fiction; our protagonists battle to survive under the boot of an all-seeing power in a future that may very well happen one day! In this lesson, we learn about the importance of individualism, as well as the need of standing up against the momentum of a society that has gone off the tracks.
- Contributor at PhillyVoice When it comes to dystopias, they are generally the stuff of satire and science fiction
- Our protagonists battle to survive under the boot of an all-seeing power in a future that may very well occur! In this lesson, we learn about the importance of individualism, as well as the need of standing up against the tide of a society that has gone off the rails.
Contributor to PhillyVoice Dystopias are normally the stuff of satire and science fiction; our protagonists battle to survive under the boot of an all-seeing entity in a future that may very well occur! The lesson is about freedom, or uniqueness, or standing up to the momentum of a society that has gone off the tracks, depending on your perspective.
Tuesday, September 23Parkway Central Branch1901 Vine St.Philadelphia Free LibraryParkway Central Branch1901 Vine St.
A Clanking Ride to an Uncertain Freedom
It seems fitting that Colson Whitehead’s new novel should debut during what looks to be a renaissance of African-American historical culture, fueled in part by films like 12 Years a Slave andSelma, as well as books like The Underground Railroad. An interest in the historical presence of African-American people in American culture has long been among African-American authors, and what Ashraf Rushdy refers to as the ‘neoslave narrative’ has been there since the 1960s, re-ignited by Toni Morrison’s Belove in the late 1980s.
- Its assertions about history and the present, on the other hand, are far more complicated than some of the buzz around the novel would lead one to believe.
- The story begins when the youngest, Cora, the protagonist, is in her mid-teens, and continues until the end of the novel.
- She is still reeling from her mother’s escape from slavery a few years earlier and tending the provisional ground first set out by her grandmother.
- This work, on the other hand, varies from the tradition of African-American literature framed by Morrison — and, in a separate but related sense, by Winfrey — because of Whitehead’s profoundly sardonic point of view on the characters.
- Because the Underground Railroad was historically a metaphor for an organizational structure, it was a means of thinking about geography and people in terms of stations, agents, and conductors, rather than in terms of literal tracks and trains.
- In spite of this, the Railroad quickly becomes a metaphor of American history, “springing from some inexplicable source and shooting toward a miracle terminal” as soon as it is exposed.
- Cora inquires of an agent, “Who constructed it?” at another point in the conversation.
- With the exception of learning that the train has fallen into ruin, we learn virtually nothing about the railroad’s past.
- A number of other books in the African-American literary tradition have also taken a satirical view on slavery; for example, William Wells Brown’s Clotel(1853) and Ishmael Reed’s Flight to Canada(1976) are both worth mentioning for their antics that equal Whitehead’s in their own ways.
- When compared to its predecessors, The Underground Railroad stands out for the grandness of its design and the delicacy with which it buries the problem of historical memory in an otherwise action-packed tale.
- Quentin Tarantino’s idiot-friendly movie did not go unnoticed, as it demonstrated the large amount of interest there is among the general people in non-melodramatic narratives of slavery.
With Tarantino’s recent proclivity to draw on serious historical subjects through genre convention, there has been a resurgence of interest in recent literary fiction by African-American men in particular, such as Colson Whitehead’s zombie novelZone One(2011), as well as books by Victor LaValle and Mat Johnson.
As its allusions to Swift demonstrate, The Underground Railroad is a novel with serious ambitions, particularly when seen in the context of literary satire.
Whitehead strikes a delicate balance between satirical designs and historical vision once the train has left the station — there is no such place as North and South Carolina, Indiana or Tennessee as he depicts them in his artwork, at least not exactly, but his fictive versions point to uncomfortable truths.
But that experience also challenges us to consider the purportedly beneficent versions of racial liberalism that have tried to right the wrongs of slavery in our society.
As he puts it succinctly, “The black race did not exist in North Carolina save at the end of a rope in those days.” Despite the fact that this fictionalization of the states is quite aggressive, the novel’s release has been met with little criticism, perhaps due in part to the novel’s narrative grace.
- Whitehead weaves together the historical aspects of slavery with the present with a deadpan dexterity and a quiet daring that is refreshing.
- Early readers have noted how the slave patrols operate in a manner that is eerily similar to that of modern law enforcement (“They stopped any niggers they spotted and demanded their passes”).
- Among other things, the episode that takes place at South Carolina’s Disneyfied museum of slavery has gotten the most positive feedback from critics, and for good reason.
- Suffice it to say that it reflects the production of cultural memory about slavery in which Whitehead, his reviewers, and his readers are all implicated This episode is particularly significant because of the manner in which it brings Cora’s character into sharper focus.
- She singled out the weak links in the group, the ones who crumbled under the pressure of her gaze.
- To look for flaws in the chain that holds you bound in servitude.
- However, when working together, it was a tremendous iron that oppressed millions of people despite its own frailty.
They were a handcuff to each other as a group.
Cora’s viewpoint is permeated with irony as a result of the novel’s premise.
With the choice of a female protagonist, Whitehead is able to write without being hampered by the masculine drama that has for far too long dominated tales of the American Revolution.
With Cora, Whitehead takes a step away from the explorations of Black female psychological depth found in other recent “neo-slave narratives,” as she does with Lila Mae Watson in Whitehead’s The Intuitionist.
Throughout Cora, Whitehead’s caustic wit transforms into the dented armor of an escaped slave masquerading as a knight errant, and she engages in a verbal battle with the topsy-turvy language of exploitation in an allegedly free society.
Using this proposal as a creative prompt, The Underground Railroad interpolates the historical brutalities of slavery into a dystopic vision of the United States that bleeds from the antebellum period into the present day.
Most importantly, he appears to question whether the United States is not itself an imaginative projection, “the grandest of all illusions,” as he puts it.
“Now that she had fled away and seen a little of the country, Cora wasn’t convinced the paper portrayed anything true at all.” “America was a ghost in the night, just like her,” she says.
A similar effort has been made to determine what music is being played in the novel — partly because another of Whitehead’s historical fiction efforts, John Henry Days, was concerned with the relationship between the railroad and popular music in the United States during that time period.
Organized Noize and OutKast’s representation of the antebellum United States incorporates elements of the gloomy atmosphere and bizarre moods of Whitehead’s portrayal of the antebellum United States.
Whitehead acknowledges artists such as David Bowie, Prince, Sonic Youth, and the Misfits in his acknowledgements, but it’s also worthwhile to make more contemporary connections, such as between Death Grips or TV on the Radio and the book’s clanking DIY subway rides to an uncertain freedom, in order to better understand the book.
This is heartening in those moments when I wonder (a la Franzen) if the book being picked up by Oprah will help to lessen the pain of its rejection from the publisher.
Matt Sandler is a researcher at Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, and he is currently working on a book about Black Romantic poets during the Civil War era.
‘The Underground Railroad,’ by Colson Whitehead
“Sag Harbor” is the only one of Colson Whitehead’s novels that approaches a straight-ahead realistic novel in terms of structure and style. Aside from that foray into autobiographical fiction, he’s tethered the mystery novel to metaphorical allusions to race (“The Illusionist,” his 1999 debut), a satire of contemporary folkways to African American history and legend (“John Henry Days”), and a zombie dystopia to erudite social commentary (“Zone One”), among other projects. This is a writer who is trying to avoid being labeled in any way.
- Clandestine operations involving both black and white people were carried out in contravention of the Fugitive Slave Act in this deadly undercover operation.
- After being apprehended, some victims were returned to their owners in exchange for a reward, while others were simply hanged up on the nearest tree to hang themselves.
- As a historical fiction, “The Underground Railroad” has all the hallmarks of a traditional historical novel for the first 80 or so pages.
- Our heroine’s grandmother was kidnapped in West Africa, and her mother, Mable, escaped the plantation when Cora was 11 years old.
- As a result of coping on her own, she has developed a strong sense of grit and resolve.
- Like a result, she stands out from the crowd since she has not been knocked down by life as most of her contemporaries have.
- We meet Cora’s fellow slaves, the comparatively benign ownerJames Randalland his savage brother Terrance, the famed slave catcherArnold Ridgeway, and numerous benevolent Southern whites who risk their lives to help the railroad build a railroad track.
- This is not a voyage by horse and cart, disguised as a travel through trapdoors and hidden passages.
- Other anachronisms may be seen in the town where they take refuge, including an elevator and a factory assembly line.
- This dangerous trek to the north becomes not just a gripping adventure novel, but it also serves as a symbolic recapitulation and evaluation of the wider African American past.
A few years later, she takes on the role of living mannequin at a museum devoted to portraying black people’s climb out of “savagery.” The arrogance of her white benefactors conceals genuine cruelty — forced sterilization of females and infection of males with syphilis — on the part of the regime (a la the notorious Tuskegee experiments a century later).
- “I was under the impression that we were through with that here.” Once again, when slave catcher Ridgeway pulls up, the train whisks Cora away to North Carolina, where she is secreted in the attic of station master Martin and his wife, both of whom are scared for their own survival.
- Cora has been imprisoned by Martin for several months, ostensibly for her own benefit.
- “Freedom was something that changed depending on how you looked at it.” Ridgeway is a tireless pursuer, much like Javert in “Les Miserables,” who finally captures his target and kills him.
- The area has been scorched and scarred by flames, and it appears to be a premonition of James Baldwin’s “The Fire Next Time.” Cora is rescued again again, and this time she finds refuge in Indiana.
- Washingtonvein and populated by ex-slaves and free blacks, is an experiment in black self-help in the Booker T.
- According to Cora, it is “a group of people who are working for something beautiful and special.” On the other hand, a Frederick Douglass-like orator in the tradition of W.E.B.
- Even turning out the lights for the Western areas does not ensure success.
He asks Martin to describe the framework of a slave-based economy to Cora, which he does.
“And if not subdue, eliminate,” says the author.
With just a few instances, she continues to be a voiceless bystander.
In order to allow the tale to speak for itself, the book’s own voice is low-key and unpretentious, as if the author wanted the story to speak for itself.
Dan Cryer is the author of “Being Alive and Having to Die: The Spiritual Odyssey of Forrest Church,” which is available on Amazon Kindle.
Email:[email protected] The Underground Railroad is a term used to describe a system of transportation that allows people to flee their homes. Colson Whitehead contributed to this article. (Doubleday Publishing Group; 306 pages; $26.95)
Is Amazon’s ‘The Underground Railroad’ Based on a True Story?
It’s only been four years since Barry Jenkins made his mark on Hollywood with the film “Moonlight,” and now he’s making his mark on television with the Amazon series “The Underground Railroad,” which is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Colson Whitehead and directed by Jenkins. Jeff Jenkins directed all ten episodes of the television show, and his work is evident – the episode “The Underground Railroad” is a true masterpiece. It relates the narrative of Cora (Thuso Mbedu), a teenage slave who escapes from a plantation in Georgia and embarks on a long and grueling trip through multiple states while being chased by a determined slave catcher called Ridgeway (Joel Edgerton).
Because “The Underground Railroad” is set in the antebellum South, you might be wondering if the narrative that inspired the film is based on a true story.
Neither this program nor Whitehead’s novel is a true story; both are fictional works of fiction.
However, as was the case with another recent Amazon series, “Them,” which was inspired by the actual history of housing discrimination in the mid-20th century, “The Underground Railroad” is exploiting its location to make a point, much like the situation with another recent Amazon series, “Them.” Alternatively, a succession of points.
“If you want to have a sense of what this country is all about, you have to take the train.” If you only glance outside while driving fast, you’ll see the actual face of America.” What we have as a result of this is a sequence of chapters that demonstrate some of the various expressions of racism towards Black people in America, both historically and in the contemporary era.
They don’t bother with pretense in North Carolina, instead launching a Nazi-style operation to eliminate every Black person who happens to be discovered on its soil.
It’s only that, in contrast to most allegories, this one is truly about what it’s actually about, rather than attempting to obscure the truth.
This is simply a tour through a fantasy version of the universe that has been amplified. What it really is, though, is a fantastical vision of the world that is lot closer to reality — and hence much more relatable — than anything like “Harry Potter” or “His Dark Materials.”