Polly Shine is a divisive character in the novel. In your opinion, is she good or bad?
Join Date: 10/11/10
Join Date: 01/31/12
Polly Shine is not bad. She tries to help the slaves where the white doctor is pretty ignorant in his treatment of their illnesses; if he even is a doctor. She talks to Savanna and the other slaves of freedom. This makes her a hero, not a bad person. Even though she does stir the pot. The fact that she was instrumental in helping so many slaves escape is also heroic.
Join Date: 04/14/11
I think that Polly was a good person. She saw something in Granada and felt that she could help her by her words and actions. She was also very helpful to the slaves - she healed them physically and helped them spititually. She also helped many of them escape. Her way of going about things wasn't always kind but the person beneath some harsh words was very very good.
Join Date: 04/21/11
Join Date: 10/16/10
I agree with RebaJane that it's difficult to categorize her as "good" or "bad," though there were clearly a number of character in the book who attempted to identify her as one or the other. She's an individual, and she has a strong sense of right and wrong according to her specific world view. Ultimately, her heart is in the right place, but I wonder occasionally about her methods.
Join Date: 08/11/11
Join Date: 04/21/11
Join Date: 10/19/10
I feel that Polly Shine was a metaphor for all those slaves who truly understood their positions under slavery and knew that freedom was the only option. She used her craft to help her people and intelligence to pass on her ideas of freedom. The author uses her to demonstrate the "grass roots" movement that led many slaves north to freedom. She was tough!
Join Date: 09/11/11
I believe that, despite some bad actions, Polly Shine was a good person. She acted as a healer and leader of the people and chose, in the end, to do some things that were potentially harmful. However, the outcome, which she predicted, led to freedom and healing.
Join Date: 05/12/11
I saw Polly as a good person. She often had to rock the boat to get people to take action. Her methods were not always liked but they were necessary for the time in which she lived. She didn't care whether people liked her or not; she just got the job done. I admired that in her.
Join Date: 08/11/11
Join Date: 04/14/11
Wow! I must admit - I only saw Polly as "good". While I hate to classify - "good or bad" - I can honestly say that within her I saw the connection of soulful womanhood - a connection to health and wisdom. It is within her that I saw the connection to themes beyond slavery - womanhood, motherhood, connection, relationships and an intuitive knowing that is within all.
Join Date: 06/16/11
I am enjoying all these thoughts and insights from all of you. I am not sure good or bad can be applied to Polly Shine because she really was both. She was very good at her calling and sincerely cared for her patients but she also had her on goals and was not going to let anyone thwart her. Bargaining for her freedom with the boys life was not exactly a sign of goodness but she accomplished what she wanted. Her tactics were not always admirable but her goals were and she was not just in it for herself but managed to help a lot of people escape that plantation.
Join Date: 12/04/11
Polly Shine was definitely a strong character! She had learned how to intimidate people for the general "good". Her reputation had preceded her and she knew how to get what she needed for the good of the slaves. Her medicine was not witchcraft, she used common herbs and added positive re-enforcementt that told her patients they were loved. She created an aura about her that caused others to keep their distance so she could fix what was broken.
Join Date: 01/22/11
I felt like Polly was a good person.Sometimes actions or behaviors do not make the person bad; it is just a lapse in judgement. She was a wise, giving person who wanted to make a difference not only in her life, but the lives of so many others. Many people do not have the strength or courage to be so bold, and forthright in their actions. Down deep, I found her to be a very caring, wise, and yes gentle soul.
Join Date: 07/17/11
Her motivations were pure I think, and she clearly had the interests of others in mind as her guiding force. While her actions may have been harsh at times, I would definitely classify her as "good" given that she seemed to dedicate her life to making the lives of those around her better.
Join Date: 09/06/11
Polly did what she could to help the people. Even though her methods were not those of the medical profession, she was successful. I really believe that if people believe that what they are hearing is true they will believe that the "medicine" will work.
Join Date: 05/31/11
Strange question. Polly is neither good or bad. She is a healer doing what she knows how to do. She knows how to heal the body as well as the spirit of her people. In another context she might have become a saint. A strong, strong woman with a kean mind in a time when that could easily have gotten her killed. There was talk of her being a witch and that may have been closer to the truth. Witches were hebalists and healers for many generations. A marvelous character full of wisdom and courage.
Join Date: 01/01/12
Polly was not only a good person she enabled others to see that there were other possibilities. She was able to attend to them by using her wit and cunning. She healed and helped others not so much medically but through care the slaves had never received before. It was probably the first time many of the slaves had someone care for them not as slaves but as people - human beings.
Join Date: 08/14/11
Join Date: 09/22/11
Polly had gumption she was am independent woman that stood by her beliefs. The change that she brought to the plantation was amazing. Her strength was in being strong and not doing what she was told but telling what was needed. This can come across as being cold. Self survival attitude and the interesting way that she taught Granada could be interpreted as bad. Her belief that one could only rely on oneself gave her the ability to embrace the Freedom that was to come. I also like the reference to SHINE that debracoley makes. I say a good hearted strong women.
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