Books - The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
July 01, 2018
There are plenty of slave narratives. Do we need any more?
Colson Whitehead's novel, The Underground Railroad, tells the story of a young slave woman, Cora, who escapes the Randall plantation in Georgia with a male companion Caesar and makes her way north and west on a literal underground railroad whose tunnels have been dug by abolitionists committed to undoing the bonds of slavery.
The scenes about slave torture and killings are terrible and offset to some extent by the kindness of strangers who help and conduct the slave escapees to freedom.
This is a story about the tenacity and perseverance of the human spirit against the evil of economic forces and power which exploit, subjugate, oppress, and terrorize to maintain power and dominion. It is a more extreme story of what is happening in America today with Trumpism and the championing of racism, mysogony, xenophobia, deceit and using fear and terror to undue civil liberties and the rule of law.
The Underground Railroad is an old narrative going back 300 years in the United States and continuing on in more subtle and insidious forms in our country today.
Cora and her companions seeking freedom and human development in the face of life threatening terror and domination is a souce of inspiritation and hope. The people who help her and her companions are the unnamed saints and martyrs for the cause of human dignity and respect. While a difficult book to read because of intentional pain and suffering deliberately inflicted to dominate and subjugate human beings, it is more importantly a book not only of resistance, but of endurance, hope, and triumph.
I give The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead a 4.5 on the Markham Behavioral Health 5 point scale.