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The Underground Railroad
A magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's desperate bid for...
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Cora's mother

Created: 10/31/16

Replies: 13

Posted Oct. 31, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
vickys

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 28

Cora's mother

Were you surprised to read about Cora's mother's fate? Did this change any of your feelings or interpretations of the novel?


Posted Nov. 01, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joycew

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 75

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RE: Cora's mother

It was a realistic outcome for her mother, and I am glad they didn't tell it until the end of the book. I think Cora received strength from thinking her mother had made it to the North, so she could also make it. Her mother was a legend and hero and everyone needs a hero in their life.


Posted Nov. 01, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jeannew

Join Date: 04/23/11

Posts: 82

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RE: Cora's mother

It's an interesting dichotomy, isn't it? Cora hates her mother for leaving her and yet her leaving is what gives Cora the courage to leave herself. If her mother had made it back to the plantation would Cora have had the courage to try to escape?


Posted Nov. 01, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
barbm

Join Date: 02/04/16

Posts: 73

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RE: Cora's mother

Mabel was hated for leaving Cora, but she was inspiring because she sought her freedom. I was disheartened to learn she was bitten on her return. Was it just a deadly 'prank' to leave?

On a different level it makes me realize that freedom has huge responsibilities, which isn't touched on, but underlies the story, I think. I also wonder why this was placed so near the end of the book.


Posted Nov. 02, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
elainew

Join Date: 08/28/15

Posts: 10

RE: Cora's mother

I liked the surprise of finding out the fate of Cora's mother at the end of the book but felt sorry for Cora that she thought her mother had left her behind for most of her life. She did get some inspiration to run thinking her mother had run and made it.


Posted Nov. 02, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kdowney25

Join Date: 01/25/16

Posts: 42

RE: Cora's mother

I was very surprised to have a section told from Mabel's point of view near the end of the book. My feelings towards her changed after learning what really happened to her, that she had decided to go back because Cora "was waiting on her", only to get bitten by a snake and die in the swamp. Her hopelessness had gotten to her, but she felt that having left just for that little while, and having gone as far as she did, was enough to feel free for now. She intended to let Cora know there was something past what she knew, and that she could have it for herself some day. Cora always felt that her mother had abandoned her, but also was proud of her mother for escaping. Thinking that this was true gave Cora the courage to try to run.


Posted Nov. 03, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kariner

Join Date: 07/20/16

Posts: 13

RE: Cora's mother

Up to the end I have to admit, I was waiting to meet Mabel. I was very sad that we met her the way we did. It would of been nice to see the confrontation between mother and daughter. I'm very glad Mabel didn't abandon her daughter. If Cora know the truth however, she never would of escaped herself.


Posted Nov. 05, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
celiaarnaud

Join Date: 04/18/12

Posts: 35

RE: Cora's mother

I knew we needed to find out what had happened to Mabel. But from a narrative structure point of view, it was good that that revelation happened near the end. Mabel took on this mythic quality that influenced so much of what happened in the book. Would Ridgeway have been so dogged in his pursuit of Cora if his pride had not been injured by Cora's mother being the one that got away? Despite the fact that Cora hated Mabel for leaving, she also drew inspiration for her own flight from her. It saddened me to realize that Mabel never got farther than the swamp, but I think it was also a more realistic ending (if we can really use the word realistic to describe a book full of alternative history and magical realism). I also think that the book would have been completely different if we knew early on what had happened to her. The characters still wouldn't have known but it would have changed the way we saw their responses to her memories. And while those responses did still change in the end, the journey getting to that change would have been lost.


Posted Nov. 11, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
christineb

Join Date: 10/13/11

Posts: 46

RE: Cora's mother

I was surprised. I really did think that she had escaped successfully. It was very thought provoking that she had decided to return- because of Cora? fear of the unknown? Love?


Posted Nov. 13, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
CarolynSC

Join Date: 12/02/13

Posts: 8

RE: Cora's mother

I think it was very effective to leave Mabel's story until the end of the book. It added some suspense to the story--what happened to her? It's too bad that Cora never learned the truth, but she needed that drive to escape as her mother had.


Posted Nov. 14, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jeannew

Join Date: 04/23/11

Posts: 82

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RE: Cora's mother

I agree that it was effective to leave Mabel's story till the end, but as a reader I was disappointed. I really wanted to think that she had gotten away despite leaving her daughter.


Posted Nov. 15, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 130

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RE: Cora's mother

Mabel's fate was sad but realistic, and coming as it did nearer to the end, it served us the way it did Cora, as a beacon of hope (which we know is lost, but she does not). Not having the happy ending was a wise decision on the author's part, because it would have undercut his overall message, and it would have seemed contrived: While we know slaves did escape to safety in the 19th century, his novel is a commentary on the present, where there is no such "happy ending" of perfect safety and freedom, even for black people who achieve. People like Obama, or Henry Gates Jr., still have to put up with incredible racism.


Posted Nov. 22, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
alisonf

Join Date: 01/31/13

Posts: 90

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RE: Cora's mother

I was sad that Cora never knew her mom was coming back for her but the fact that Cora believed her mom successfully escaped probably gave her strength to continue her search for freedom.


Posted Nov. 22, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marganna

Join Date: 10/14/11

Posts: 90

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RE: Cora's mother

I agree that having the fate of Mabel held to the end of the story was effective. Mabel was a legend which gave Cora the strength to attempt her many escapes & endure all the hardships cast upon her. The Author could have left her story unresolved for us so in that respect I'm glad we knew Mable was returning to Cora & also of her tragic end. In such a sad story I had wanted Mabel & Cora to meet & have happiness but it would not have been true to this telling of the underground RR.


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