How Many Sections Are In The Underground Railroad By Colson Whitehead? (Correct answer)

Based on the 2016 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Colson Whitehead, “The Underground Railroad” is a story divided into ten chapters, but not in a traditional episodic manner.

How many episodes were there of The Underground Railroad?

Colson Whitehead’s 2016 novel, The Underground Railroad, won a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Now, it’s a limited series directed by Academy Award-winner Barry Jenkins (Moonlight, If Beale Street Could Talk). In ten episodes, The Underground Railroad chronicles Cora Randall’s journey to escape slavery.

How many pages is Underground Railroad?

Hubbard House Underground Railroad Museum Ashtabula County had over thirty known Underground Railroad stations, or safehouses, and many more conductors. Nearly two-thirds of those sites still stand today.

Is Colson Whitehead married?

Whitehead lives in Manhattan and also owns a home in Sag Harbor on Long Island. His wife, Julie Barer, is a literary agent and they have two children.

How do I contact Colson Whitehead?

Colson Whitehead

  1. Contact: [email protected]
  2. Speaking Engagements: Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau.
  3. Publicity: Michael Goldsmith [email protected]
  4. Photo: Chris Close.
  5. Upcoming events: 2021.

How many chapters are in the Underground Railroad series?

Based on the 2016 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Colson Whitehead, “The Underground Railroad” is a story divided into ten chapters, but not in a traditional episodic manner.

How many seasons are in the Underground Railroad?

The series was billed as a limited series. That should mean there is only one season of the series. After all, it does tell the full story for the books, even if there are a few questions at the very end. Being billed as a limited series doesn’t mean a series remains that way.

Who is Arnold Ridgeway?

Arnold Ridgeway, the slave catcher who dedicates himself to finding Cora, has been a slave catcher since age 14. He spent most of his time in New York City, strategizing ways to identify and capture former slaves without being stopped by abolitionists. Ridgeway gained a reputation as both effective and brutal.

How much does The Underground Railroad Cost?

There are no fees to visit Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument, but some partner sites may charge fees.

Did Colson Whitehead win the Pulitzer Prize for The Underground Railroad?

College accepts 740 under early action program But unlike the other three, Whitehead’s wins are consecutive efforts, his last book, “The Underground Railroad,” having garnered a Pulitzer in 2017.

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.

What states were part of the Underground Railroad?

Most of the enslaved people helped by the Underground Railroad escaped border states such as Kentucky, Virginia and Maryland. In the deep South, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 made capturing escaped enslaved people a lucrative business, and there were fewer hiding places for them.

How many slaves were saved by the Underground Railroad?

According to some estimates, between 1810 and 1850, the Underground Railroad helped to guide one hundred thousand enslaved people to freedom.

The True History Behind Amazon Prime’s ‘Underground Railroad’

If you want to know what this country is all about, I always say, you have to ride the rails,” the train’s conductor tells Cora, the fictitious protagonist of Colson Whitehead’s 2016 novelThe Underground Railroad, as she walks into a boxcar destined for the North. As you race through, take a look about you to see the genuine face of America.” Cora’s vision is limited to “just blackness, mile after mile,” according to Whitehead, as she peers through the carriage’s slats. In the course of her traumatic escape from servitude, the adolescent eventually understands that the conductor’s remark was “a joke.

Cora and Caesar, a young man enslaved on the same Georgia plantation as her, are on their way to liberation when they encounter a dark other world in which they use the railroad to go to freedom.

” The Underground Railroad,” a ten-part limited series premiering this week on Amazon Prime Video, is directed by Moonlight filmmaker Barry Jenkins and is based on the renowned novel by Alfred North Whitehead.

When it comes to portraying slavery, Jenkins takes a similar approach to Whitehead’s in the series’ source material.

“And as a result, I believe their individuality has been preserved,” Jenkins says Felix.

The consequences of their actions are being inflicted upon them.” Here’s all you need to know about the historical backdrop that informs both the novel and the streaming adaptation of “The Underground Railroad,” which will premiere on May 14th.

Did Colson Whitehead baseThe Underground Railroadon a true story?

Upon stepping onboard a boxcar destined for the North in Colson Whitehead’s 2016 novelThe Underground Railroad, Cora is given some sage counsel by the train’s conductor: “If you want to know what this country is all about, I always say, you have to ride the rails.” As you speed through, take a look about you to see the genuine face of the United States. Cora can only see “darkness, mile after mile,” according to Whitehead, as she peers through the carriage’s slats. In the course of her traumatic escape from servitude, the adolescent comes to understand that the conductor’s remark was “a joke.

When she traveled, there was just darkness outside the windows, and there would only be darkness forever.” Setting the Underground Railroad in antebellum American history, Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel imagines it not as a network of abolitionists and safe homes, but as a real railroad with underground stations operated by hidden activists snaking northward to freedom.

The train stops in each state, and Whitehead presents his characters with a fresh and sinister embodiment of racism.

Slavery is treated with brutal honesty in Jenkins’ series, much as Whitehead did in the series’ original material.

“Black victory,” rather than “white victory,” is the story that he presents.

“Slavery is neither a situation that is stable or unchanging, nor is it a condition that is loyal to them as individuals.” The consequences of these actions are being visited upon them.” Listed here is all you need to know about the historical backdrop that underpins “The Underground Railroad,” which will premiere on May 14 in its streaming adaptation.

Spoilers for the novel will be provided below the fold.

What time period doesThe Underground Railroadcover?

Caesar (Aaron Pierre) and Cora (Thuso Mbedu) believe they’ve discovered a safe haven in South Carolina, but their new companions’ behaviors are based on a belief in white supremacy, as seen by their deeds. Kyle Kaplan is a producer at Amazon Studios. The Underground Railroad takes place around the year 1850, which coincides with the adoption of the Fugitive Slave Act. Runaways who had landed in free states were targeted by severe regulations, and those who supported them were subjected to heavy punishments.

In spite of the fact that it was intended to hinder the Underground Railroad, according to Foner and Sinha, the legislation actually galvanized—and radicalized—the abolitionist cause.

“Every time the individual switches to a different condition, the novel restarts,” the author explains in his introduction.

” Cora’s journey to freedom is replete with allusions to pivotal moments in post-emancipation history, ranging from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study in the mid-20th century to white mob attacks on prosperous Black communities in places like Wilmington, North Carolina (targeted in 1898), and Tulsa, Oklahoma (targeted in 1898).

According to Spencer Crew, former president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and emeritus director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, this “chronological jumble” serves as a reminder that “the abolition of slavery does not herald the abolition of racism and racial attacks.” This problem has survived in many forms, with similar effects on the African American community,” says the author.

What real-life events doesThe Underground Railroaddramatize?

In Whitehead’s envisioned South Carolina, abolitionists provide newly liberated people with education and work opportunities, at least on the surface of things. However, as Cora and Caesar quickly discover, their new companions’ conviction in white superiority is in stark contrast to their kind words. (Eugenicists and proponents of scientific racism frequently articulated opinions that were similar to those espoused by these fictitious characters in twentieth-century America.) An inebriated doctor, while conversing with a white barkeep who moonlights as an Underground Railroad conductor, discloses a plan for his African-American patients: I believe that with targeted sterilization, initially for the women, then later for both sexes, we might liberate them from their bonds without worry that they would slaughter us in our sleep.

  • “Controlled sterilization, research into communicable diseases, the perfecting of new surgical techniques on the socially unfit—was it any wonder that the best medical talents in the country were flocking to South Carolina?” the doctor continues.
  • The state joined the Union in 1859 and ended slavery inside its borders, but it specifically incorporated the exclusion of Black people from its borders into its state constitution, which was finally repealed in the 1920s.
  • In this image from the mid-20th century, a Tuskegee patient is getting his blood taken.
  • There is a ban on black people entering the state, and any who do so—including the numerous former slaves who lack the financial means to flee—are murdered in weekly public rituals.
  • The plot of land, which is owned by a free Black man called John Valentine, is home to a thriving community of runaways and free Black people who appear to coexist harmoniously with white residents on the property.
  • An enraged mob of white strangers destroys the farm on the eve of a final debate between the two sides, destroying it and slaughtering innocent onlookers.
  • There is a region of blackness in this new condition.” Approximately 300 people were killed when white Tulsans demolished the thriving Black enclave of Greenwood in 1921.
  • Public domain image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons According to an article published earlier this year by Tim Madigan for Smithsonianmagazine, a similar series of events took place in the Greenwood district of Tulsa, which was known locally as “Black Wall Street,” in June 1921.
  • Madigan pointed out that the slaughter was far from an isolated incident: “In the years preceding up to 1921, white mobs murdered African Americans on hundreds of instances in cities such as Chicago, Atlanta, Duluth, Charleston, and other places,” according to the article.

In addition, Foner explains that “he’s presenting you the variety of options,” including “what freedom may actually entail, or are the constraints on freedom coming after slavery?” “It’s about. the legacy of slavery, and the way slavery has twisted the entire civilization,” says Foner of the film.

How doesThe Underground Railroadreflect the lived experience of slavery?

In Whitehead’s envisioned South Carolina, abolitionists provide newly liberated individuals with education and work opportunities, at least on the surface of the page. However, as Cora and Caesar quickly discover, their new companions’ conviction in racial superiority is in stark contrast to the words they had said with such sweetness. The opinions conveyed by these fictional characters are reminiscent of those voiced by eugenicists and proponents of scientific racism in twentieth-century America.

  1. “Controlled sterilization, research into communicable diseases, the perfecting of new surgical techniques on the socially unfit—was it any surprise that the best medical talent in the country was flocking to South Carolina?” the doctor continues.
  2. The state joined the Union in 1859 and ended slavery inside its boundaries, but it also clearly inscribed the exclusion of Black people on its state constitution, which was only repealed in the 1920s after decades of resistance.
  3. In this image from the mid-20th century, a Tuskegee patient is shown having his blood taken.
  4. In the novel The Underground Railroad, white immigrants undertake the jobs previously performed by enslaved people in North Carolina, working off the debts incurred by their “journey, tools, and accommodation” as indentured slaves before claiming their rightful position in American culture.
See also:  When Did The Public Start Learning Of The Underground Railroad? (Question)

According to the railroad conductor who conceals Cora in his attic, the “Freedom Trail,” a path paved with the remains of slain Black people, stretches “as far as there are bodies to feed it.” After narrowly evading the slave catcher Ridgeway at the conclusion of the tale, Cora decides to settle on a farm in Indiana.

Tensions soon rise to a boiling point, with residents disagreeing on whether they should continue to harbor fugitives at great risk to the rest of the community, or whether they should “put an end to relations with the railroad, the endless stream of needy, and ensure the longevity of the farm,” as one resident puts it.

According to Whitehead’s book, “Cora had grown to adore the improbable riches of the Valentine farm to such an extent that she’d forgotten how impossible they were.” It was too vast and too successful for the farm and the nearby ones run by colored interests.” An island of darkness in the midst of a newly created state.” In 1921, white Tulsans demolished the rich Black enclave of Greenwood, murdering over 300 individuals, according to historical estimates.

Attack on an Indiana farm is depicted in detail in the novel The Underground Railroad.

When a similar series of events transpired in the Greenwood area of Tulsa in June 1921 (also known as “Black Wall Street,” as described by Tim Madigan for Smithsonianmagazine earlier this year), it was a cause for celebration.

Moreover, as Madigan pointed out, the slaughter was not an isolated incident: The New York Times reports that “in the years preceding up to 1921, white mobs murdered African Americans on hundreds of instances in cities including Chicago, Atlanta, Duluth, Charleston, and other places.” As Sinha points out, Whitehead’s inclusion of incidents that occurred after the abolition of slavery serves to highlight the institution’s “pernicious and far-reaching tendrils.” In addition, Foner explains that “he’s showing you the variety of options,” including “what freedom may actually mean, or are the constraints on freedom coming after slavery.” “It’s about.

the legacy of slavery, and the way slavery has perverted the entire civilization,” says Foner of the film.

On Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad : On Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad is a novel by Colson Whitehead that follows the narrative of Cora, a fugitive slave who travels from state to state on railroad cars that are physically buried beneath the ground of the American South. A fellow slave called Caesar persuades Cora to flee the Georgia farm where she was born and journey north aboard the boxcar of a hidden subterranean railroad, which she discovers along the way. Ridgeway, the slave catcher, is on her trail, all the more desperate to get her because he was unsuccessful in apprehending her mother when she fled away years before.

  1. Cora travels alone to North Carolina, where she hides in an attic for several months before being discovered and apprehended by the authorities.
  2. Colson Whitehead is the author of this piece.
  3. Fiction set during the antebellum period Published for the first time in 2016 Georgia is the major setting.
  4. Topics covered include: freedom; the causes of violence; the difficulties of categorizing individuals as “good” or “evil; how the past shapes our present; and subtle kinds of racial injustice.
  5. Among the most crucial features of the Underground Railroad are the following: In the first place, The Underground Railroad is unusual due to the realistic combination of historical fiction and fantasy that is included in it.
  6. None of the characters ever explains where these tunnels may have come from or how they could have remained hidden for such a long period of time without being noticed.
  7. While other sections of the novel are terribly genuine and accurate to history, other parts of the story are a satire on both.

The heinous cruelty exhibited against escaping slaves was based on actual events (and the Civil War did not put an end to this kind of racial violence).

The combination of fantasy and history pushes readers to reflect more deeply on the heinous acts that have occurred—and those that continue to occur—in the history of racial relations in the United States.

For example, many people believe that slavery is not such a horrible institution because of the less brutal version of slavery that Caesar experienced in Virginia.

Ethel believes herself honorable and caring since she aspired to be a missionary in Africa and because she reads the Bible to Cora, two of her younger sisters.

These and other instances throughout the book indicate that people who believe they are just “doing the right thing” and are not responsible for the ills of slavery are frequently nevertheless complicit in the continuance of slavery.

As Ridgeway points out to Cora, she has committed the murder of a white kid, so establishing her as a “murderer” in the eyes of the predominantly white town.

Ridgeway asserts that he is motivated by the same survival instinct as Cora is motivated by hers.

Ridgeway’s rationale, of course, does not stand up, as Cora points out: Ridgeway kills for money or convenience as well as for survival, as Cora points out.

Ridgeway does not appear to be totally wicked, and Cora does not believe herself to be purely nice either.

In the story, all of the characters are compelled to make moral decisions within the confines of a system that restricts their alternatives, a system that can occasionally render ethics and survival incompatible with one another.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – Teacher’s Guide: 9780345804327

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR TEACHERS Instructions for Teachers The Underground Railroad is a term used to describe a system of transportation that allows people to flee their homes. Cora, a young African American lady who goes to freedom from the antebellum South via a magnificently conceived physical—rather than metaphorical—railroad, is introduced in The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. The locations and people Cora experiences throughout the novel, which is told in episodes, furnish her and the reader with important discoveries about the consequences of captivity.

The reader is reminded of the importance of hope, of resistance, and of freedom via Cora, making The Underground Railroadan essential supplement to any classroom curriculum.

An understanding of the slave trade, slavery, and how it operated in the United States is necessary in order to make sense of the number of Africans who were enslaved and the historical legacy of enslavement that has lasted through Reconstruction, the civil rights movement, and up to the present day in the United States.

  • Most importantly, including The Underground Railroadallows readers to bear witness to a counter-narrative of slavery that is not generally covered in the literature on slavery.
  • Because of the Underground Railroad, we are reminded that her tale may be used as a springboard for bigger talks about racism, gender, and a slew of other critical issues.
  • When used at the collegiate level, the book is suited for writing and literary classes, race and gender studies, and first-year/common reading programs, among other things.
  • The prompts are organized according to the standard that they most directly support.
  • For a comprehensive listing of the Standards, please see the following link: warnings: There are multiple instances of violence throughout the text (sexual and physical).
  • Although teachers should not avoid exposing children to these events, guiding them through them via conversation and critical analysis will help them gain a better understanding of the consequences of enslavement as it has been experienced by so many people throughout history.
  • Activity in the Classroom Make a list of all the ways in which Cora fights against the dehumanization that comes with servitude.

Then hold a Socratic seminar to determine in what ways she is a “insurrection of one” (172) and why her resistance is such a threat to the system of white supremacy.Key Ideas and Specifics : CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.11-12.3 Examine the consequences of the author’s decisions about how to develop and connect the many aspects of a tale or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).

  1. Even while whites continue to orchestrate festivals among the slave population in South Carolina, free people are free to congregate and spend time with one another whenever they choose.
  2. And what do these get-togethers have to say about community, kinship, and happiness?
  3. What aspects of South Carolina’s enslavement are similar to those of slavery?
  4. What characteristics distinguish South Carolina from Randall?
  5. Her reading materials include a Bible and almanacs, which “Cora admired.
  6. What role does the act of reading, and hence literacy, play in Cora’s ability to be free?
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Consider, as well, how Ethel and Ridgeway use the Bible and religion to justify slavery: “If God had not intended for Africans to be enslaved, they would not be in chains” (195); and Cora’s observation: “Slavery is a sin when whites are subjected to the yoke, but not when Africans are subjected to the yoke” (195).

  1. This is how Ridgeway describes his position: “I’m an idea of order.” Likewise, the slave who vanishes is only a fictitious concept.
  2. If we allow it to happen, we are acknowledging the fault in the imperative.
  3. Is there a “defect in the imperative,” and why is it critical for Ridgeway and the larger institution of enslavement that is reliant on Black people that this flaw be addressed and eliminated?
  4. Mingo and Lander are similar in many ways.
  5. What are the similarities and differences between these two guys and Booker T.
  6. E.
  7. Du Bois?

Examine the relevance of how each person who worked on the railroad—from station agents to conductors—was influenced by their jobs and the railroad itself.

Which concepts such as resistance, agency, and responsibility do these individuals hold dear to their hearts?

The ability to read and to be literate provided one with a tremendous instrument for comprehending the world and for liberating others from oppression.

Consider the significance of the Valentine library, which boasts “the largest collection of negroliterature this side of Chicago,” among other things (273).

What role does Cora’s experience play in articulating the relationship between freedom and literacy?

Cora’s grandmother, Ajarry, is our first introduction to her.

What role does Ajarry play in setting a good example for Mabel, and in especially for Cora, is unclear.

A comparison has been made between the episodic structure of The Underground Railroad and that of Jonathan Swift’sGulliver’s Travels by Colson Whitehead.

A station agent tells Cora, “If you want to see what this country is all about, I always say you have to ride the rails,” as he tells her he wants her to ride the trains.

What role does Lumbly’s appraisal play in framing Cora’s next phase of her trip once she leaves Georgia?

Cora travels the majority of the way by herself.

Years ago, she had taken a wrong turn and was no longer able to find her way back to the folks she had left behind” (145).

Also, how do her travels influence her perspective on the ever-present threat of sexual assault against Black women, as well as the general lack of protection for enslaved women?

Examine the Friday Festivals and the night riders to see how they compare.

What are the ways in which these occurrences express worries of black rebellion?

Instead, he and his family were sold and split apart by the government.

Gulliver’s Travels is the title of the book.

The notion of literacy for freedom is sustained by Caesar’s hunger for knowledge in what way is unclear.

Who was the one who started it?

The question is, how could this be both a “community striving for something precious and unique” and a threat to others (such as the residents in the nearby town, slave hunters, and so on)?

Is there a clear message about risk and return in this?

Why is Sam the only one that returns to Cora out of all of the agents she has encountered?

Look at page 285 and see how Lander responds to Mingo.

What is the role of illusion throughout the narrative, and why is this particular moment so important for the acts that follow?

“You have a responsibility to pass on something beneficial to your children” (293).

What is their legacy in Cora, and how has it been realized?

Examine the relevance of turning the Underground Train into a real-world railroad system.

Create stations for students to study and debate each advertising based on a framing text (for example, “New Databases Offer Insight into the Lives of Escaped Slaves” from the New York Times).

What are some of the parallels and contrasts between the actual announcements and Cora’s version of them?

Knowledge and ideas are integrated in this process.

“That tale, like so many that we tell about our nation’s past, has a complicated relationship to the truth: not exactly false, but simplified; not quite a myth, but mythologized,” argues Kathryn Schultz in her essay “The Perilous Lure of the Underground Railroad” in the New Yorker.

For what reason is it necessary to emphasize African Americans’ participation in the abolitionist movement?

According to the Slave Memorial Act of 2003, “the District of Columbia shall be the site of a memorial to slavery to: (1) acknowledge the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery throughout the United States and its thirteen American colonies; and (2) honor the nameless and forgotten men, women, and children who have gone unrecognized for their undeniable and weighty contribution to the development of the United States.

” There are no national monuments dedicated to the enslavement of Africans in the United States at this time.

What is the most appropriate method to commemorate and remember the enslavement of African people?

Draw on examples from the book to support your reasoning as you create an artistic depiction that places Cora inside that lineage, stretching the history all the way to the current day.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.11-12.7 Research projects that are both short and long in duration are carried out to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; when necessary, inquiries are narrowed or broadened; and multiple sources on the subject are synthesized to demonstrate understanding of the subject under investigation.

One of the episodes should be chosen as a starting point for doing critical analysis and presenting findings from research on one of the issues listed below, along with an explanation of how that topic relates to the novel’s themes.

forced sterilization, settler colonialism, lynching, African Americans and abolitionism, African American slave rebellions, sexual violence against African American women, reparations, literacy practices during and after enslavement, the role of white women in slavery, maroons and maronage, racial health disparities, and reparations.

  1. (Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The Case for Reparations,” The Atlantic, November 2005.
  2. Social Theory, Sociology, “Settler Colonialism: An Introduction from the Perspective of Global Social Theory.” (E.
  3. The New York Times is a newspaper published in New York City.
  4. NPR’s “Fresh Air” program.
  5. Kathryn, “The Perilous Lure of the Underground Railroad” is a book about the Underground Railroad.
  6. Works of Spectacular Interest Podcast with a historically black cast.
  7. Ashley Bryan is a writer of children’s books.

Ava DuVernay’s Thirteenth (film) Strange Fruit: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History, by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Alex Haley (film), Joel C.

Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, is a classic.

Promoting High Achievement Among African American Students, Young, Gifted, and Black (Young, Gifted, and Black), Theresa Perry is a woman who works in the fashion industry.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is located in Washington, DC.

Gregory Christie is a writer and poet from the United Kingdom.

Heather’s book, Help Me to Find My People: The African American Search for Family Lost in Slavery, is a must-read for anybody interested in African American history.

Author of Self-Taught: African American Education in Slavery and Freedom, Heather A.

Monroe Work is the webpage for the Lynching Project.

Kimberly N.

Previously, she served as president of the New England Association of Teachers of English and as the National Council of Teachers of English’s Secondary Representative at-Large for the secondary division.

A Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Illinois at Champaign, Dr. Parker is an expert in the field of education. WHAT THIS BOOK IS ABOUThtml /

The Underground Railroad (novel) Summary

It contains detailed information and analysis to assist you in understanding the novel, The Underground Railroad (novel)SummaryStudy Guide The following sections are included in this study guide:. This comprehensive review of the literature also includes Quotes as well as a Free Quizon Colson Whitehead’s novel The Underground Railroad is set during the American Civil War. It was necessary to utilize the following version of the book in order to build this study guide: Colson and Whitehead. The Underground Railroad, first edition, is a novel about the Underground Railroad.

There are several short chapters that introduce and occasionally interrupt the main narrative of the story, which takes place in the Southern United States during the abolitionist movement (early 1800s).

It is important to note that the terms “colored” and “nigger” are used throughout the book and analysis in order to reflect the language of the time: in other words, the terms in the book are historically appropriate, and they are used throughout this analysis with the same intent of being accurate as they are in the book.

  • It is described in the narrative how Ajarry acquired possession of, and maintained authority over, a tiny plot of land in the slave region of the Randall plantation in the Southern state of Georgia, where she spent the most of her adult life.
  • There is also mention of how Ajarry argued that efforts to escape were hopeless; how Mabel staged a successful escape despite this; and how Cora turned down an initial offer to make her own attempt from fellow slave Caesar.
  • After their first night on the run, they are disturbed by the entrance of another slave, Lovey, who had figured out what they were doing and had gone to join them.
  • The encounter escalates into a brawl, during which Lovey is apprehended and Cora kills one of the assailants in the process.
  • Cora and Caesar are given new names and identities, and they begin new lives in which they become increasingly comfortable, despite being presented with a succession of opportunities to continue on the underground railroad even farther north, and ultimately to their liberation.
  • Cora is able to flee to North Carolina, where she is taken up by Martin and Ethel Wells, who provide her with shelter while she is on the run.
  • Eventually, she is located and given over to Ridgeway, leaving the Wells family to deal with the wrath and violence of the bigoted inhabitants of the village.
  • Cora manages to escape with the assistance of a guy with whom she chances to establish eye contact on the street, and the two go to Indiana along with the man (Royal).
  • In the end, the farm is raided by a party of slave hunters, and Cora is captured and held prisoner by Ridgeway once more.
  • Eventually, she reaches the end of the line, where she climbs to the surface and is picked up by a colored guy who is part of a caravan heading out to a new life in the American West.

Ajarry’s life is described in detail in the book’s first character, who also explores the lives, backgrounds, and destinies of numerous other characters in chapters that are interspersed throughout the story. Ridgeway, Ethel Wells, Caesar, and Mabel are among the characters who appear in the novel.

Colson Whitehead tells the story behind the ‘Underground Railroad’

While in fourth grade, Colson Whitehead heard about the Underground Railroad, an initiative to assist slaves in the nineteenth century in their journey from slavery to freedom through a network of people, routes, and houses. Whitehead was under the impression that the railroad was a real railroad, with trains surreptitiously running on rails in subterranean tunnels to transport slaves to freedom, which was not the case. His teacher corrected him, but the image of the incident remained in his memory.

  • According to him, the plot would have a protagonist who would go north on a true subterranean train, stopping in each state along the route and encountering some fresh adventure.
  • Although the concept intrigued him, he was terrified by it and didn’t feel he was ready to explore it in a novel, either from a technical or emotional aspect.
  • Each time, he came to the conclusion that he was not yet prepared to do honor to the subject.
  • When he began thinking about his next novel three years ago, he finally had the courage to share his thoughts with people.
  • The answer was overwhelmingly positive and convincing: it was time to start writing the manuscript.
  • Among many other distinctions, the book was named the winner of the 2016 National Book Award for Fiction and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence from the American Library Association, as well as a pick for Oprah Winfrey’s elite book club.
  • The lecture took place at the Lecture Hall of the James Branch Cabell Library.
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An actual railroad, underground

It is the story of Cora, a teenage slave who escapes from her Georgia plantation with her companion, Caesar, and travels north via an underground railway system composed of tracks and tunnels, as told by Whitehead in his novel The Underground Railroad. Cora and Caesar are pursued by a merciless slave-catcher throughout their journey, and they must overcome a lot of obstacles and hazards. Whitehead employs a huge cast of people and alternates between a selection of them in order to convey their viewpoints and inner lives, while never losing sight of Cora’s horrific escape from the house.

  1. Jones’ “The Known World,” and Charles Johnson’s “Middle Passage” before entering into his own work.
  2. Toni Morrison is “an extraordinary intellect,” he stated, adding that he “can’t really compete with that.” “It doesn’t matter what you’re writing about; all that matters is that you have something unique to say about the subject,” he said.
  3. During the course of writing the novel, Whitehead discovered that he became increasingly obsessed with making a work that was sufficient to approximate the experiences that his ancestors and other slaves had gone through.
  4. As a result of the subject matter, the book is cruel, although Whitehead maintains that it represents “just a ten-millionth of one percent of what they truly went through.” “I knew that this was something my family had to go through,” Whitehead added.
  5. I have no idea what they were working on, how they lived, or how they suffered.

I did everything I could to testify on their behalf and on behalf of other persons who had been subjected to slavery. The bigger concern was the combination of the fear of losing my influence and the fear of attempting to portray the actual reality and severity of what my family went through.”

‘In some ways, we haven’t come far’

Whitehead claims that if he had written the work when he was younger, the outcome would have been drastically different. For example, the fanciful aspects would have been larger and displayed more prominently in the front if the changes had been made. He said that one of the states was initially intended to take place in the future. The spectacular was instead turned down from “a Spinal Tappian 11 down to 1,” as he put it. The train has shifted from being the focal point of the plot to becoming a vital instrument for transporting Cora from one state to another.

In fact, “the final 20 pages are the greatest writing I’ve ever done,” says the author.

His observations of the parallels have grown stronger since then, and he has begun to recognize certain justifications that slaveowners and slavecatchers used for their harsh, heavy-handed practices — even when dealing with freed blacks — in the language that is used today to justify race-based discriminatory practices.

Early forays into writing

In addition to talking about his current work, Whitehead reflected on his childhood and the route that lead him to becoming an author, frequently with the shrewd timing of a seasoned stand-up comic, which was a treat for the audience. “I was a little bit of a shut-in,” he recounted of his upbringing in New York City. I would have wanted to have been born as a sickly child, but that did not turn out to be the case. Whenever you read a biography of someone such as James Joyce, it will mention that they were a sickly child who was forced to retire into a realm of imagination.

Instead, I just didn’t care for going out in the cold.” Even as a kid, Whitehead saw the allure of a career in writing.

‘In sixth grade, I realized that writing X-Men or Spiderman comic books might be a rewarding career.’ If you were a writer, you could work from the comfort of your own home, without having to dress or interact with others.

In his own words, “I really wanted to write the black “Shining” or the black “Salem’s Lot,” as Whitehead put it.

That’s essentially what I intended to do.” As he broadened his reading interests, Whitehead came across writers who were able to incorporate elements of genre into literary fiction in a way that he found exciting and that drew strong connections to the science fiction and horror that he had grown up reading.

According to him, these authors were just as much a part of the fantastic as any other genre writer.

Although Whitehead considered himself a writer in college, he didn’t actually sit down and write anything, which is obviously an important part of the process, according to Whitehead.

Finally, I summoned up the energy to compose two five-page epics, which I used as auditions for creative writing workshops, for which I was rejected by both of the institutions where I applied.

“I was in a condition of complete devastation, which served as excellent training for my future career as a writer.”

‘I got back to work’

Following graduation from college, Whitehead worked for five years at the Village Voice, a New York-based alternative newspaper. Growing Pains” and “Who’s the Boss?” were the seasons finales of two television sitcoms that he wrote about for his first published piece of writing. He feels certain that his essay was “the definitive piece” on those two occurrences, and he expressed his confidence in his article. Eventually, Whitehead found the courage to return to writing fiction. His debut novel, “I’m Movin’ In,” was the narrative of a “Gary Coleman-esque” kid star of a successful sitcom, which was based on a true story.

  1. They all declined to participate.
  2. According to Whitehead, “you are a microbe in the buttocks of an elephant, simply trying to get the elephant’s attention.” As he reviewed the mountain of rejection letters he had received, Whitehead reflected about his future as a writer.
  3. He then went on to create a scenario in which being a writer for him could be traced back to the first Neanderthal who wondered “hunting and collecting, gathering and hunting.” It was a hilarious detour that Whitehead used to illustrate his point.
  4. “As a result, I returned to work.

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