The Underground Railroad, Week 4

Welcome to the final Online Book Club discussion of The Underground Railroad.

Were you satisfied with the end of the book this week? I think this is one of those books where I wished there could be a happy ending, just so that I could feel happier after reading it, but it wouldn't be true to the story to have Cora skipping off into the sunset after all of the horrible things she experienced. I think the book ends with some hope, but it's still up to interpretation. I can't imagine that Cora won't experience more hardship along her journey to freedom. 

What did you think of the Indiana section? Again, it seemed like a really great place to be, but there is still some tension simmering underneath. I was glad that Cora was able to have Royal, and I was glad that she was starting to learn again, but it almost made it harder when everything fell apart again. I was glad to see Sam, but I was so tense throughout the section because I just kept imaging that Ridgeway was going to come back. I think Sam was one of my favorite characters. I liked that he did the right things, and I liked that it seemed that he did the right things without wanting anyone to congratulate him. 

The station in their location doesn't have an actual locomotive; instead, it just has a handcar. Didn't you expect that Cora was going to have to go down and use the handcar for herself? I just knew that her conversation with Sam was going to be a foreshadowing of things to come. 

In the second to last chapter, we finally figure out what happened to Mabel, Cora's mother. Weren't you so incredibly sad that she died in such a pathetic way? I really thought that she was free somewhere. I almost expected that Cora would run into her in one of the states. It was just such a let down that she died from a snake bite. What did you think while reading this section? 

In the last part of the book, Ridgeway takes Cora to the tunnel and forces her to open up the entrance. What did you think was going to happen in the tunnel? Were you expecting Cora to do what she ended up doing? I definitely didn't expect that she would throw herself on Ridgeway and make both she and he fall down the stairs. Ridgeway hits his head and breaks his legs, but we don't have any confirmation that he's going to die from his injuries. What do you think? He is obviously addled and weakened, and he doesn't care that Cora is making her escape on the handcar. Do you think he dies of his injuries? 

In the end, Cora makes her escape and makes it to a man named Ollie who is going to Missouri and then California. Do you think Ollie is a good man that will help Cora reach freedom? I really hope so. She deserves hope and peace and rest. 

What were your thoughts of the whole book? Are you glad you read it? Are you interested to read other books by Colson Whitehead? If you liked this book and would like to read and watch similar titles, check out this list I made. Let me know if you check out anything on the list!

Was there anything I missed talking about throughout the book that really stuck with you? Do you find that your thinking about slavery and history has changed at all after reading the book? Let me know in the comments!

Before you go, check out the clip below in which the stars of the television series talk about the show. Let me know what stands out the most to you in the show!

Thanks for joining us this month! I hope you'll read with us again next month. We're reading and watching The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, so make sure to come back next month to talk about it! I can't wait to hear from you in the comments.