Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Underground Railroad, Notes #1

We've been reading Colson Whitehead's novel The Underground Railroad. Here are a few of the editorials we wrote in response to what we've covered.


Underground Railroad:
Lovey, the epitome of a Hob women; fighting for those you love and ultimately paying for your individuality. You ran to find freedom and wound up in the hands of a new enemy, your mothers love and wonder betrayed you, but your curiousness did too. Do you regret leaving the plantation, did you idolize the wrong women?
Emily Hemmitt

One of Cora’s* struggles in The Underground Railroad is trying to secure her grandmother’s plot of land. One of the institutional causes of the socioeconomic gap between black Americans and white Americans is the passing of property from generations: Cora’s grandmother did not actually own the plot of land, so she was unable to legally pass it on to Ajarry or Cora. How does this fact effect the formation of black community or kinship?
Jena Roberston

*Cora is the protagonist of the novel.

In Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, Miss Lucy, a woman with a “quick smile” that “told the story of the woman beneath,” constantly “corrects” Bessie to say certain words in a Proper, traditional English way, such as “Dormitory” instead of quarter and “Going to” instead of gonna (89). The history of black people being forced to conform to a society that never even catered to their education in the first place is questionable. What does the silencing of one’s black voice mean for the black community’s individuality and collectivity?
Lindsey Norward


Cora is the woman that every black woman has been or is going to experience. At some point, every black woman will identify with her through the external and internal conflicts that manifests from within. Undoubtedly, black women are assumed to be the “mules of America.” Despite such assumptions, we’ll get through because it’s in our DNA.

Tarzra Jones
North Las Vegas, NV
June 9, 2017


How does it feel to carry so much anger in your chest? To see the resentment you have for your own self projected onto others? That fire you claim is hot and hungry, boy; don’t let it swallow you whole.

Chelsea Irvin
Plano, TX 2017

*Ridgeway is a notorious slave catcher in the novel.

Scene: page 101-104, the social/dance in South Carolina

Dear Cora,

You’ve got your new pretty blue dress on, that you didn’t spend much on because “money was new and unpredictable and liked to go where it pleased” (101-102). Do you feel the same way about intimacy with the one who ran with you? You avoided Caesar’s kiss, and even though compliments are being made to each other, flowers are being given, and Caesar’s work at the factory “agrees with him,” you still sense that he is “joining a performance” when he compliments how you look. What is the right time to address attraction, when you’re running for your life? How could that potential intimacy shape the rest of the flight?


AALCI 2017


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