Lander is a well-educated and distinguished biracial man who travels the country giving political speeches. Just before Valentine farm is destroyed, he gives an impassioned speech advocating racial solidarity and the pursuit of freedom.
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.
Who are the characters in the Underground Railroad?
The Underground Railroad Characters
- Cora (aka Bessie) Cora is the heroine of The Underground Railroad.
- Caesar. Caesar is an enslaved man who lives on Randall and invites Cora to run away with him.
- Ajarry. Ajarry is Cora’s grandmother and Mabel’s mother.
- Terrance Randall.
- James Randall.
- Old Randall.
Who is the main character in Underground Railroad?
The novel, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, chronicles Cora Randall’s journey to escape slavery. Randall, played by Thuso Mbedu, leaves the antebellum South in search of the Underground Railroad which, in Whitehead’s alternate timeline, is an actual railroad complete with conductors and engineers.
Who is Cora’s father Underground Railroad?
Cora is the heroine of The Underground Railroad. She was born on Randall plantation in Georgia to her mother Mabel, and she never knew her father, Grayson, who died before she was born. Her grandmother, Ajarry, was born in Africa before being kidnapped and brought to America.
What happened to Royal in Underground Railroad?
In the end, Royal is killed and a grief-stricken Cora is caught again by Ridgeway. Ridgeway forces Cora to take him to an Underground Railroad station, but as they climb down the entrance’s rope ladder she pulls Ridgeway off and they fall to the ground.
What happened to Lovey in the Underground Railroad?
She secretly decides to join Cora and Caesar’s escape mission but she is captured early in the journey by hog hunters who return her to Randall, where she is killed by being impaled by a metal spike, her body left on display to discourage others who think of trying to 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.
Who is Mingo in Underground Railroad?
The Underground Railroad (TV Series 2021– ) – Chukwudi Iwuji as Mingo – IMDb.
How old is the little boy on the Underground Railroad?
There are cruel plantation owners, haunted slave catchers, and bigoted religious zealots making Cora’s (Thuso Mbedu) path to freedom fraught with horror and anguish, but perhaps the most terrifying person standing in the way of Cora’s freedom throughout the series is a 10-year old boy named Homer. Chase W.
Who was Cora Randall?
Cora Einterz Randall is an atmospheric scientist known for her research on particles in the atmosphere, particularly in polar regions.
Is Caesar really dead in the Underground Railroad?
While the show doesn’t show us what happens after their encounter, Caesar comes to Cora in a dream later, confirming to viewers that he was killed. In the novel, Caesar faces a similar fate of being killed following his capture, though instead of Ridgeway and Homer, he is killed by an angry mob.
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.
On Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad : Coles’s On Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad Chapter 10 Summary & Analysis
IndianaSummary Royal, a freeborn black man, is in charge of transporting Cora to a farm in Indiana, where she is rescued by a group of African-American men. Royal and his accomplice Red had traveled to Tennessee in order to rescue Justin, another runaway slave who was traveling with them as the third person. When Royal learned that Cora had been taken into captivity by Ridgeway, he decided to postpone their return to Indiana in order to rescue her as well. Once in Indiana, Cora settles on a farm owned by John Valentine, a light-skinned African man who utilizes his white look to advocate for the cause of Africans in the United States of America.
She also attends school alongside the farm’s children as well as with former slaves who are pursuing a higher degree.
After an escaped slave who was near death landed on their doorstep, John and his wife, Gloria (whose freedom he acquired after meeting her on a plantation), decided to dedicate their property to abolitionist activities.
The majority of fugitives that travel through the farm eventually make their way to Canada or another location after they have healed and prepared for their next voyage.
- Cora is unsuccessful.
- Similarly to her experience in South Carolina, Cora is unsure whether or not she should continue north.
- Cora begins to develop feelings for Royal, who continues to work for the underground railroad out of the Valentine farm, which serves as a base of operations.
- He eventually brings her to an abandoned station of the underground railroad that is nearby.
- Royal informs her that he is unsure of the direction the route will take them.
- The author recounts that even though his home was destroyed, he managed to flee north and continue his job with the underground railroad network.
- Sam has received word that Terrance Randall has passed away.
A weekly meeting of the Valentine community is held, which includes feasting, dancing, and special performances by musicians, poets, and public speakers.
Mingo, who purchased his and his family’s freedom, is dissatisfied with Valentine’s treatment of fleeing slaves, and he is concerned that the existence of individuals like Cora is causing whites to get enraged.
Mingo makes the decision to create a discussion between himself and Lander in order to prove his point.
They ransack the property and set fire to the farmhouse, murdering or kidnapping everybody they come across along the way.
Royal’s final words to Cora are, “Go to the abandoned underground railroad station and find out where it leads.” Cora attempts to flee, but she is apprehended by Ridgeway and Homer.
Analysis Cora’s disastrous separation with Valentine is foreshadowed throughout this chapter.
However, there are many subtle foreshadowing instances that occur before this.
Cora is informed by him that she may be the one who discovers the truth.
After all, her internal debate over whether or not to continue traveling from Indiana is similar to the internal debate she had with herself in South Carolina, suggesting that the outcome this time will be the same: she will stay as long as she is able, until fate forces her to leave her current location.
- The option to flee is perhaps more enticing in this situation than it was in South Carolina earlier this year.
- Royal offers to accompany her to Canada.
- Cora’s urge to stop jogging, on the other hand, is much stronger than it was earlier.
- Cora grew up in South Carolina and has remained there ever since.
- Despite the fact that Lander’s claim that everyone should be accepted at Valentine is sympathetic, even Cora realizes that it is imprecise and may not be practical.
- Lander’s point of view appears to be desirable in Cora’s eyes.
It is this conflict in Valentine that reflects an ongoing discussion among free African Americans in antebellum America over the need of “respectability.” A number of people asserted that if Africans born free and legally freed learned to conduct themselves as respected members of white society, they would be able to demonstrate to white Americans that African races were not inferior to white races and, as a result, improve treatment for all blacks overall (and especially for themselves).
Others replied that adhering to the standards of white society was a means of validating the merits of those regulations in the first place.
Because of this, free blacks would be seen just as culpable in the institution of slavery as free white people were.
One of the reasons why many Southern states were concerned about the education of blacks was that it increased the probability of intellectual, articulate, anti-establishment voices like Lander’s being produced and heard in their communities.
During the episode, a character on Valentine says to Cora, “Master once told me that the only thing more deadly than an assassination attempt was an assassination attempt with a book.”
We won’t be able to save everyone. But that doesn’t rule out the possibility of making an attempt. Sometimes it is preferable to have a beneficial hallucination rather than a worthless fact. Despite the fact that nothing will grow in this extreme cold, we may still enjoy flowers. Here’s an example of a delusion: the notion that we can free ourselves from slavery. We are unable to do so. Its scars will remain visible forever. Did you ever imagine that you would be sitting here today, free of shackles and yoke, with a new family, after witnessing your mother being sold off, your father being beaten, and your sister being tortured by some employer or master?
- We continue to run, guided by the bright full moon to the sanctuary.
- Who informed you that the negro was deserving of a safe haven?
- Every minute of your life’s agony has argued in favor of the contrary.
- This location must be an illusion as well.
- And America, like the rest of the world, is a fantasy, perhaps the largest of them all.
- To assassinate Native Americans.
- Enslave their siblings and sisters.
- Nonetheless, here we are.
The Underground Railroad in Art and History: A Review of Colson Whitehead’s Novel
The Underground Railroad, a novel by Colson Whitehead that is both frighteningly clever and deceptively simple on the surface, is much more than a fictionalized recounting of historical truth. As with many creative works of art, even at its most fanciful, the book masterfully unearths the horrific reality at the core of racial slavery in a way that only a few historical works are capable of accomplishing. Author Alfred North Whitehead thanks the experts who helped him create this novel. These scholars include Edward Baptist, Fergus Bordewich, Eric Foner, Stephen Jay Gould and Nathan Huggins, who were all influenced by the novel’s subject matter of slavery, racism, and the Underground Railroad.
- Also evident from the work is that he is well-versed on the history of slavery, abolition, and other issues related to race, ethnicity, and gender.
- As a consequence, we get a beautiful and inventive work that is disturbing in its cold-blooded examination of that unfortunate narrative.
- The novel is not only an allegory for the Underground Railroad, but it is also a prolonged reflection on the history of race and slavery in the United States.
- Her mother, Mabel, is one of the few people who has managed to flee from servitude.
- It is only at the conclusion that we hear of Mabel’s harrowing demise.
- It is a mark of their fortitude and entrepreneurship that Ajarry and she leave Cora a vegetable patch as a testament to their love for her.
Cora’s own torment takes place on the plantation; she grows up as a motherless kid with no guardians, and the horror of her gang rape is summed in a single short sentence: “The Hob women stitched her up.” The Randall brothers, one sadistic and one indifferent, reign over plantations where every kind of brutality is exposed to the fullest extent possible.
- Phillips through Eugene Genovese’s version of the story.
- Cora must flee as a result of her act of rebellion.
- A physical train with unknown conductors and scattered branches that may or may not lead to freedom is used as a metaphor for the railroad, which is appropriate in its own right and goes to the heart of the historical truth in a fundamental sense.
- Running through each chapter are adverts for escaped slaves that are evocative of Theodore Weld’s famous abolitionist denunciation of slavery, American Slavery As It Is (1839).
- Whitehead’s physical underground train also serves to highlight the history of slavery through the tale of Cora’s escape, which is fairly remarkable in and of itself.
- As early as 1850, the enslaved Ajarry look to the “City of Pennsylvania,” where organized abolition took hold among Quakers and free blacks, as their only source of hope.
Inevitably, the insidious reality emerges: the greatest teachers and physicians in the state are passionate eugenicist and scientific racists, educated in the top universities and hospitals in the country and motivated by the prevention of the spread of a “inferior race.” As it turns out, this literary method properly portrays historical truth.
- Josiah Nott and J.D.B DeBow, South Carolina was also the site of Louis Agassiz’s collection of specimens and photographs of enslaved people in order to support his theory of polygenesis, or the multiple origins of man, which he developed on Carolinian plantations.
- It is via Whitehead’s narrative that we may perceive the motifs of fugitivity as well as the abolitionist underground.
- Another escape is reminiscent of Henry “Box” Brown, who achieved fame by parceling himself out of slavery.
- Martin, one of her friends, and his hesitant partner, his wife, who are exposed by their Irish maid, would suffer a similar fate to her.
- It appears that Cora is just a step ahead of, and at times even behind, slave hunters commanded by the persistent and cruel Irishman Ridgeway, whose assistant Homer is seen as an outcast of the African-American community.
- In Tennessee, she is rescued by a dashing free black abolitionist named Royal.
- Unlike other damsels in distress, Cora had slain a young white boy who attempted to seize her, which is a concern that recurs throughout the narrative, and she is determined to fight back against her enslavers and free herself.
- Many free and autonomous black settlements actually had their start in the old northwest, which was known for its harsh black laws and pro-slavery politics at the time of their founding.
- While Elijah Lander’s talk at Valentine’s farm is an emotional high point, the film’s central role, Frederick Douglass, represents not only the renowned black abolitionist Frederick Douglass, as many reviews have theorized, but the whole interracial abolitionist movement.
Interracial activism characterizes the abolitionist movement; Lander, like David Walker, has published an Appeal; like William Lloyd Garrison, he has written “Declaration of the Rights of the American Negro,” run afoul of Maryland law, and been nearly lynched in the streets of Boston; and, like Frederick Douglass, with whom he shares the most similarities, he is an accomplished orator well-known on the abolitionist lecture circuit.
During his talk, a racist white mob destroys Valentine’s farm and burns it to the ground, killing Royal and Lander in the process.
A number of well-deserved accolades have been bestowed upon Whitehead’s novel, including selection for Oprah’s Book Club and the 2016 National Book Award for fiction.
It does a better job of capturing the black experience of slavery and emancipation than other history texts. The New Yorker published an article by Kathryn Schulz titled “The Perilous Lure of the Underground Railroad” on November 27, 2016.
Manisha Sinha is a professor of American history at the University of Connecticut, where she holds the James L. and Shirley A. Draper Chair in American History. In addition to American history, Sinha’s research interests include the transnational histories of slavery and abolition, the history of the American Civil War and Reconstruction, and the history of the American Revolution. In 2016, Yale University Press released her award-winning book, The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition, which won the National Book Award.
The Underground Railroad Characters
Cora, the heroine of The Underground Railroad, is a perceptive, bright, and driven lady who has a strong sense of self. The book is mostly told from her point of view, as she flees her existence as a slave on a Georgia farm and travels on the Underground Railroad through various states until reaching freedom in the United States. She is abandoned by her mother, Mabel, when she is a small child, and she eventually wanders away. The caretaking of her mother’s garden plot provides Cora with peace, despite the fact that she has been demoted to the status of an outcast among her fellow slaves.
- She works as a nanny to white children in the beginning, and then as a live model for historical displays at a museum later on.
- Ridgeway finally apprehends her in that location, and the two of them journey through Tennessee together.
- Later, the farm is destroyed by white settlers in an act of racist hatred, and Ridgeway is reunited with Cora.
- When she decides to join a caravan headed to California, her narrative comes to an ambiguously positive conclusion.
- He eventually finds himself in Georgia at the Randall farm.
- Ajarry gives birth to five children, all of whom die, with the exception of one, Mabel, who lives to adulthood.
- Her life has been characterized by slavery, and she dies as a result of an aneurysm while working in the cotton fields.
Mabel is the only one of Ajarry’s five children to live past the age of ten.
When she is fourteen, she falls in love with another slave, Grayson, who becomes the father of Cora and dies shortly after due to a disease.
She ultimately decides to return to the plantation since she sees that Cora requires her assistance.
Because no one has discovered her body, the other characters think she has successfully escaped.
Cesar was born as a slave on a tiny farm in Virginia, owned by a widow called Mrs.
The old woman has taught her slaves to read and write, and she has promised to release Caesar and his parents, Lily Jane and Jerome, if they do not rebel against her authority.
Garner’s death, with Caesar being sold to Randall Plantation.
He makes the decision to flee and persuades Cora to join him in his journey.
She is on the fence about his approaches, but Ridgeway discovers them before she has a chance to make up her decision about them.
Lovey is Cora’s best friend on the Randall plantation, and she enjoys dancing and celebrating the simple, modest pleasures of plantation life with her.
When Cora hears of Lovey’s fate at the conclusion of the story, she is horrified: she was impaled on a spike and her body was exhibited as a warning to other slaves on Randall after she was seized.
He attempts to take over Cora’s garden plot in order to provide a home for his dog.
Jockey, the Randall plantation’s oldest slave, is known for announcing the date of his birthday whenever he feels like it.
Chester is a small child on the Randall plantation who finds himself alone when both of his parents are sold.
A drop of wine unintentionally drips down Terrance Randall’s shirt, causing Terrance to lose his cool and get enraged.
He is one of Old Randall’s two sons, and after his father’s death, he and his brother James take over administration of the plantation together.
As a ruthless and despotic master, he subjected his slaves to brutal and inhumane punishments and humiliation.
In a brothel in New Orleans, near the climax of the tale, his heart gives out completely.
Slave feast days and infrequent festivities are permitted by the plantation’s owner, who is satisfied with the plantation’s consistent and reliable revenues.
Connolly, a nasty overseer on the Randall farm, was hired by the original Randall to do his dirty work.
He is a white guy who lives in Georgia and runs a station on the Underground Railroad, which he founded.
Eventually, Ridgeway is able to get a confession out of him.
Slave-catcher Ridgeway believes in the ideas of a violent, white nationalist America and is well-known and feared for his actions.
Ridgeway was unable to locate Mabel when she went away, and as a result, he becomes obsessed with locating and recapturing her daughter Cora.
Cora inflicts a fatal wound on him in the last pages of the story when she pushes him down the steps of the Underground Railroad station in Tennessee.
A necklace of ears that he received as prize in a wrestling battle from a Native American guy named Strong, and he is fearful of dangerous diseases because his siblings perished as a result of yellow fever.
When Royal and other Railroad agents rescue Cora from Ridgeway’s wagon in Tennessee, he is shot and murdered by the other agents.
He and Cora are shackled to the back of Ridgeway’s wagon as they journey through Tennessee on their way back to their lords’ estate.
Homer is a ten-year-old black child who pulls Ridgeway’s wagon and keeps track of his paperwork.
In Homer’s eyes, he is little more than a mystery; he wears a black suit and cap and appears unconcerned about the prejudice and brutality propagated by his employer.
He is also working at a whites-only tavern in the area.
When Ridgeway discovers Cora and Caesar in North Carolina, Sam’s house is completely destroyed by flames.
He intends to travel to California, which is located in the west.
In the end, Cora comes to the conclusion that Miss Lucy is most likely a member of the state’s policy of eugenics and forced sterilization, which is intended to keep the black population under control.
During his college years, he supported himself by working as a corpse snatcher, robbing people’s remains from their graves and reselling them on the black market for dissection and the study of anatomy.
Martin, a North Carolina station agent, conceals Cora in his house despite the fact that she is in danger.
Cora and Martin communicate frequently while she is hidden in Martin’s attic, and he provides her with almanacs to peruse.
Martin’s wife was born into a rich family in Virginia.
She hesitantly invites Cora into her house in North Carolina, fearing that she may be apprehended by the authorities.
Despite the fact that it is never explicitly mentioned, the narrative implies that Ethel is a lesbian.
Royal is a freeborn black guy who began working for the Underground Railroad in New York City when he was just a child of slave parents.
In Tennessee, while on a job for the Railroad, Royal and a small group of other agents are tasked with rescuing Cora from Ridgeway.
Cora is hesitant at first, but she ultimately opens up to Royal and he becomes the first person in her life who she genuinely loves and can confide in.
When Ridgeway and the white mob raid the Valentine farm, Royal is shot and dies in Cora’s arms as a result of the attack.
John is a white-passing person with pale complexion.
He bought her freedom, and they were married a short time later.
Indiana was the first state where maize was planted.
Cora is recuperating at this location following Royal’s rescue of her from Ridgeway.
Sybil and Molly, a mother and her ten-year-old daughter, are runaway slaves who have escaped from their masters.
The three of them are really close and friendly with one another.
While still a slave, he rented himself out to his owner on weekends in order to earn money, and finally bought the freedom of his entire family with the money he earned.
Lander, a free black man, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to a wealthy white lawyer and his black wife.
Following his studies, he went on to become an orator for the abolitionist movement.
In the novel, he is the final person Cora encounters on her voyage, and he is a compassionate black guy who is traveling as part of a mixed-race caravan that is headed west.
Cora comes upon him when she escapes the Valentine farm in Indiana via the Underground Railroad and arrives in New York City. Cora accepts Ollie’s offer of food and a trip to St. Louis, and then on to California, and the tale comes to a close with her acceptance.
Colin Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad
I’d like to start with two extremely crucial things before moving on. First and foremost, Colson Whitehead is a superb writer. Throughout his work, The Underground Railroad (New York: Doubleday, 2016), the reader is drawn in and the action proceeds quickly. It was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award in fiction and was a pick for Oprah Winfrey’s book club. First and foremost, despite its title, the work is neither about slavery or the Underground Railroad. At first, I was reading the book as if it were a history book.
Even slavery and the Underground Railroad, which was depicted in the novel as a real railroad that runs beneath the ground, were used as metaphors to explore racism in the United States as well as the condition of Black life in the United States, as well as people’s hopes and struggles throughout history and the present.
He imagines that his struggle to escape servitude, and hence all life, is analogous to Gulliver’s struggle to survive and return home.
Gradually, I began to perceive the novel as a type of modern Wizard of Oz narrative, with Cora as a self-emancipated Black Dorothy on an impossible journey undertaken during horrific circumstances, and I was able to accompany Whitehead and Cora on the mythical Underground Railroad in her quest for freedom.
- The friends and helpers she encounters along the road, Black and White, share certain similarities with the characters from the Wizard of Oz story, however in Whitehead’s imagined slave South, in a book created for a modern readership, most of them die horribly.
- Frederick Douglass also appears in the story as himself, as Elijah Lander.
- Valentine Farm is a failing Emerald City that could not withstand the strength of White prejudice, and Mingo is the accommodating Booker T.
- John Valentine is the faulty Wizard of Oz, and Mingo is the Cowardly Lion.
- Cora and the readers learn about the Underground Railroad from Royal, who explains how it works.
- The minor spurs and the large trunk lines are both important.
- It travels everywhere, to locations we are familiar with as well as those we are not” (267).
- The book comes highly recommended by me.
- Despite the controversy surrounding the film’s director and actor, I made the decision to view it because I felt obligated to think about how I might utilize snippets from the film in classrooms to assist students better comprehend slavery in the United States.
- In my opinion, the finest cinematic representation of slavery in the United States remains to be the original Gordon Parks adaptation of Solomon Northup’s narrative, Solomon Northup’s Odyssey, which was released in 1988.
- Both Parks’ film (later re-released as Half Slave, Half Free) and Northup’s book, Twelve Years a Slave, place an emphasis on work and community, rather than merely the pain of servitude, as part of their narratives.
Solomon Northup’s account, in contrast to Nat Turner’s, whose life and revolt against slavery were mediated via a White lawyer who published Turner’s “confession,” is entirely his own. The New York Times ” width=”427″ height=”489″ src=” Timesimage” width=”427″ height=”489″
Character Analysis Of Elijah Lander
Throughout history, individuals have been forced to endure misfortune or to overcome obstacles. When faced with difficulty, how people respond is a tremendous indicator of their character. When confronted with a small amount of adversity, some individuals quit up and concede defeat. Others, on the other hand, utilize misfortune to push them to become a better person who raises others up in the name of a shared purpose, whatever their circumstances. Throughout Colson Whitehead’s novel “Underground Railroad,” Elijah Lander is a character who is steadfast in the face of misfortune, inspiring others to persevere with him in order to become stronger as a result.
- Elijah Lander is an African-American who, when compared to the majority of his race at the time, has experienced very few difficulties in his life.
- His father was a well-to-do white lawyer who had an openly gay relationship with a black lady.
- In nocturnal whispers, they described their baby as the result of the mating of an African goddess and a pale human.
- They described him as a demigod, demonstrating their genuine reverence and admiration for the guy in question.
- He was in a good mood.
The Underground Railroad, Reimagined
Colson Whitehead speaks about his novel, which won the Pulitzer Prize. In Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novelThe Underground Railroad, a misunderstanding from the author’s boyhood in New York City serves as the seed for the story’s premise. At the Wolf Humanities Center in September, Whitehead shared his childhood fantasy of an underground metro system. “I imagined an actual subway system beneath the Earth,” he said. “I envisioned an actual subway system beneath the Earth” (formerly Penn Humanities Forum).
- Finally, in 2014, he embarked on a journey to bring the idea to reality.
- Whitehead’s early work on the book, which was published in 2016, coincided with protests in Ferguson, Missouri over the shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer, which sparked the Black Lives Matter movement.
- The existence of police violence is not a secret, he asserted.
- In fact, nearly all of Whitehead’s writings are concerned with issues connected to the continuing repercussions of slavery in the United States, but The Underground Railroadis his most direct examination of African bondage to date.
- After all, she wondered, what made it possible for Whitehead to create this work in light of the plethora of other classic slave narratives and a current scholarly dispute about whether slave stories should even be published at all!
- “The one with the terrifying book is the one you ought to read.” Using a Gulliver’s Travels-style structure, the story follows Cora, a young lady fleeing slavery, as she travels down the namesake railway, with each state along the line symbolizing a distinct option of civil society.
- In her exploration of historical tragedies like as lynchings, forced sterilization, and the Holocaust, Cora quickly discovers that there is no place where she can feel completely secure.
- Tillet also noted the formidable obstacles Cora would have to overcome in her quest for freedom.
- “Can you give me a definition of freedom?” she inquired of Whitehead.
In his choice of a female protagonist, he acknowledged the influence of Harriet Jacobs’ autobiographicalIncidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, evoking additional danger for female slaves who were subjected to the sexual desires of plantation masters and expected to breed the next generation of laborers.
“She’s still a black lady in the United States of America.” Cora continues to travel even though actual independence appears to be an impossible fantasy to reach.
According to Lander, “we may not know where we are going through the forest,” but “we will pick each other up when we fall, and we will arrive together,” he said to his audience. —Aaron Kase, Ph.D.
Blood on the Tracks
“She had two possible ends in mind: either a comfortable, hard-won existence in a northern metropolis or death.” In the middle of these two choices, Cora is a young lady born into slavery, for whom there is little to call her own between the two options. The narrative of her life is told in Colson Whitehead’s stunning and haunting new novel, The Underground Railroad. It’s a book that is widely projected to win every prize available this year—the Pulitzer Prize, the Booker Prize, the National Book Award, and so on—and it is deserving of every one of them.
- It is through an Underground Railroad that Cora journeys toward freedom, which Whitehead has rendered literal: tunnels hacked and scraped through the soil, locomotives and rickety box trains, stations concealed beneath kitchen-floor trap doors but never far from danger.
- The reader would be unprepared for the savagery of the book’s initial portions if any of these warnings were given to them.
- When it comes to punishment, its owner, Terrance Randall, possesses, in the words of the famed slave catcher Ridgeway, “an elaborate imagination.” Whitehead employs a vivid imagination that is every bit as intricate as Randall’s in order to make this horrific universe tangible.
- Whitehead can see the light leaking through the fractures in this society, as well as the fleeting optimism that motivates Cora and her co-conspirators to continue their mission of destruction.
- That is obviously not a fresh concept in the realm of literature, any more than the legacy of slavery is a novel concept in the psyche of the United States.
- With the use of an email, Whitehead responded to a few questions from Chapter 16.
- Unaware that we are following a certain type of reasoning — one whose implications we may not agree with — until we have already gone along on its premise for a while, we are said to be walking through it.
- Is it possible for you to discuss your own theories regarding how the narrator’s voice functions?
Aside from providing context, the narrator also explains the universe, delivers caustic asides, and, in certain instances, gives a blessing (as in Cora’s fugitive-slave advertisement, for example), So, perhaps, the narrator is doing its job while also breaking away from the constraints of its orders on occasion.
Is there anything you can say in response to that argument?
A speech delivered to liberated men and women on the Valentin farm in Chapter 16 by orator Elijah Lander describes the United States as “a fantasy, the biggest one of them all.” He believes that the United States should not exist because “its underpinnings are murder, theft, and cruelty.” “However, here we are.” Colin Kaepernick, an NFL quarterback, recently declined to stand for the national anthem in protest of systematic racism and police violence against people of color in the United States of America.
- Does the “yet” in “yet here we are” make you think of a future in which the paradox becomes less noticeable, or even dissolves altogether?
- A young black guy who is always scribbling things down in his notebook appears to be the right-hand man of the slave catcher Ridgeway in Chapter 16, which is counterintuitively a young black man.
- So, how did he come to be?
- Homer’s going to be Homer, says Whitehead.
- Surely, the story of Homer and Ridgeway isn’t all that odd.
- Chapter 16: If there is a God in this place, he is a God of indifference, but at the same time, the “ghost tunnel” has the faintest traces of, if not supernatural forces, then at the very least some other kind of power.
- Do you want readers to ponder, if anything, the existence of any type of power other than human intellect and brutality at work inside the universe of this novel?
Chapter 16: Cora has a complicated connection with music; at one point, she contemplates the lyrics of a specific song and wonders to herself, “How could such a cruel thing become a source of pleasure?” Your acknowledgments list some of the music you were writing to, including Misfits—a band whose type of horror I also enjoy, but whose style has always struck me as a little camp.
while writing about a real-life heritage of violence, in exquisite detail, what are you thinking?
I never draw a link between the job I’m doing and the music I’m listening to, except when Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There Is?” comes on.
Steve Haruch resides in the city of Nashville. In addition to the Nashville Scene, where he is a contributing editor, his writing has appeared on NPR’s Code Switch, The New York Times, and other publications. Tagged:Fiction
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).
- 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.
- And what do these get-togethers have to say about community, kinship, and happiness?
- What aspects of South Carolina’s enslavement are similar to those of slavery?
- What characteristics distinguish South Carolina from Randall?
- Her reading materials include a Bible and almanacs, which “Cora admired.
- What role does the act of reading, and hence literacy, play in Cora’s ability to be free?
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).
- This is how Ridgeway describes his position: “I’m an idea of order.” Likewise, the slave who vanishes is only a fictitious concept.
- If we allow it to happen, we are acknowledging the fault in the imperative.
- 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?
- Mingo and Lander are similar in many ways.
- What are the similarities and differences between these two guys and Booker T.
- 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 reward 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 analyze and discuss each advertisement 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 story, like so many that we tell about our nation’s past, has a tricky relationship to the truth: not quite wrong, but simplified; not quite a myth, but mythologized,” writes Kathryn Schultz in her article “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 text to support your thinking as you create an artistic representation that places Cora within that lineage, extending the timeline all the way to the present 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.
(Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The Case for Reparations,” The Atlantic, November 2005.
Social Theory, Sociology, “Introduction to Settler Colonialism from Global Social Theory.” (E.
The New York Times is a newspaper published in New York City.
NPR’s “Fresh Air” program.
Kathryn, “The Perilous Lure of the Underground Railroad” is a book about the Underground Railroad.
Works of Spectacular Interest Podcast with a historically black cast.
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.
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 /