Monday, March 6, 2017

THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colson Whitehead: Week One #12mos12rals

Welcome to the first week of discussion for THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD!  Today, we are here to discuss the first three chapters/sections of the book, including AJARRY, GEORGIA, and RIDGEWAY.  Please read on for specific questions to address, but I encourage you to take your own route if you so desire.


  • In this first chapter, we are first introduced to Cora.  What are your first impressions?
  • The bulk of the chapter explores Cora's grandmother, Ajarry and her story.  How much of Ajarry's story influences Cora?
  • Comment on the opening and closing of the chapter:  "This was her grandmother talking." vs "This time it was her mother talking."

  • Let's talk about Jockey.  What is the importance of his character to the story within this chapter?
  • How did the Hob affect Cora, both positively and negatively?
  • What was it that caused Cora to step in between Chester and Terrance at Jockey's party?  Why did Chester not want anything to do with Cora after she tried to save him?
  • What attracted Caesar to Cora?  Why did he choose her to run away with?
  • Comment on your initial reaction to the underground railroad.  Was it described as you expected?  Why or why not?

  • In this chapter, we meet Ridgeway.  What are your first impressions of him?
  • It was Ridgeway that was the lead behind finding Cora's mother when she escaped.  Now, he is on the case of Cora herself, and is determined more than ever to destroy the underground railroad.  Why does he feel so strongly about this destruction?


Feel free to answer any or all of the questions listed above.  Feel free to address any that you feel that I have missed.  Feel free to link up below, or feel free to just comment here at the bottom of the post.  

Next week, we will be back on Monday to chat about the next three sections:  SOUTH CAROLINA, STEVENS, AND NORTH CAROLINA.  See you all back again next week.

1 comment :

  1. As I read this book, the beginning chapter really keeps coming back to me. Cora starts out following her grandmother's belief that she is safer to remain where she is, doing her job. However, circumstances change her mind and she was soon fleeing, just like her mother did so many years ago.

    Caesar really pinpointed Cora, and I'm not exactly sure why. Maybe it was because her mother successfully escaped. Maybe he saw her strength that kept her going in a horrible situation. Maybe it was a bit of both. I'm curious to see where this "relationship" goes.

    I was not expecting an actual railroad! I guess I would have if I read the cover description beforehand!

    Ridgeway ... I don't like him!


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