Welcome to Week 3 of the Online Book Club discussion of The Good Lord Bird.
Did you enjoy this section? I felt like it was a little easier to read--maybe because John Brown wasn't really in it? I did feel nervous for Onion throughout, though, because I was so afraid that he was going to be assaulted, and I was afraid that he was going to be exposed as a boy. Were you surprised that he was able to make it all through this section without everyone finding out that he was a boy?
What did you think of Pie? She was a hard character to like. I can't even begin to imagine how hard her life was, so I totally understand that she wasn't a warm and welcoming character. However, I found myself wishing that she could have been a little more dependable for Onion. He spent so much time being confused by her actions. Near the end of the section, he was desperate for her attention, but he didn't get what he was looking for. She did seem to look out for him, though, in her own way.
I think one of the most affecting part of this second section was the part where Sibonia interacted with the minister while she was in jail. Were you affected by that part? Sibonia's honesty showed the minister the depth of pain that she and the other enslaved people felt, and it felt like he was finally able to see things from her perspective a little bit. It's interesting that at the beginning of the conversation, the minister says that an insurrection would be wicked and the killing of white people would be wicked, but he never considered how the wickedness of the institution could warrant such violence. It seemed like he was willing to preach against slavery, but I don't know if he really considered the personal heartbreak of a person who was enslaved. I just thought that whole conversation was very heartbreaking.
I had a hard time picturing the "pen" that the enslaved people were kept in. In my mind, I kept picturing a barnyard with a big fence around it, but, hopefully, that wasn't what it was. I wonder if that was a very common thing for a town to have. I've never heard of it before. I did a little research and learned that "slave pens" were often used to house enslaved people before they were auctioned off, but that doesn't seem to be the case in this book. The pen in this book seemed to be more of a neighborhood and people left to do day jobs. If you want to read more about "slave pens," check out this article and this one, too.
I was very relieved when Owen showed up to rescue Onion. I know being back with John Brown will bring more violence into Onion's life, but I feel like Onion is still at an age where he needs someone to look out for him, and I think John Brown does that, even though he may not always go about it in a perfect way. I genuinely think John Brown wants Onion to have a successful and happy life. I don't think Onion got that while he was at Miss Abby's place.
Before you go, check out the video below. James MrBride shares a little more information about the creation of the book, and then actors from the miniseries version share their experience with the story.
I hope you were able to enjoy this section and are excited to finish the book for next week. Make sure to let me know any of your thoughts and impressions in the comments section!