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Archives > [August] The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead- Part 3 (after finishing - spoilers)

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message 1: by Bryony, Circumnavigation Mod (last edited Aug 17, 2018 12:35PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryony (bryony46) | 1081 comments Mod
I hope you enjoyed our August book of the month, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. Here are the final discussion questions for you to answer once you’ve finished the book.

1. Cora’s feelings about her mother’s disappearance are mentioned throughout the book. How did your feelings about Mabel change once you’d found out what really happened to her?

2. All of the main characters face hardship and tragedy at some point during the story, but did you feel that the book ended on a hopeful note?

3. What did you think of the different visions for Valentine’s farm presented in the debate between Mingo and Lander?

4. Which, if any, of the main characters did you relate to the most?

5. Please add a question for the next person to answer.


Samantha | 1141 comments 1. Cora’s feelings about her mother’s disappearance are mentioned throughout the book. How did your feelings about Mabel change once you’d found out what really happened to her?
I think I always held out hope for Mabel to be greater than we first thought but her story was so sad and made worse knowing that Cora would never know why her mother left and that she intended to return.
2. All of the main characters face hardship and tragedy at some point during the story, but did you feel that the book ended on a hopeful note?
I can't say that it felt all that hopeful, just that start of a new difficult journey. It kind of hopeful that Ridgeway was dead and no longer hunting Cora or other slaves.

3. What did you think of the different visions for Valentine’s farm presented in the debate between Mingo and Lander?
Honestly this didn't make much of an impact on me but Mingo's view on kicking out runaways seemed dumb. People shouldn't be bought and sold so being a "runaway" isn't something I believe in.
4. Which, if any, of the main characters did you relate to the most?
Hard to say I could relate to any of them, thankfully my life is to far removed. I think I appreciated how Martin and Ethel's stories unfolded and John Valentine and many of the characters on his made for look at a different more hopeful way of living.
5. Please add a question for the next person to answer.
Ridgeway was so awful it is hard to imagine why Homer seemed so loyal. How do you imagine their relationship evolved?


Ana AZ (anabana_a) | 570 comments 1. I wasn't overly surprised that Mabel died. While getting further into the book, it was one of the possibilities that I entertained since the theme of the book didn't lean on optimism.

2. It didn't seem that hopeful to me. Well, there has been a pattern of events where something good happens to Cora then it just goes downhill again. The ending just seemed like another one of those events where it's seemingly hopeful but it makes me expect something bad will happen again. The ending wasn't something final, exactly.

3. Mingo sounds a little like Trump, or like the people who voted for Brexit.

4. None.

5. "Ridgeway was so awful it is hard to imagine why Homer seemed so loyal. How do you imagine their relationship evolved?"
I found both Homer and Ridgeway very interesting. Homer is very young, and the young often find someone older to idolize. It just so happened that it was Ridgeway. I guess that's probably it. And if ever Homer runs away, he's seen how Ridgeway treats the black slaves he's hunting down, so I think it's a defense mechanism for him to distance himself away from his fellow blacks because of that.

Did you feel that the literal underground railroad added a whole lot to the story or would this book have been more or less the same to you without it?


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