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How did the scenes on Randall's plantation affect you as a reader?

Created: 10/27/16

Replies: 19

Posted Oct. 27, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1303

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How did the scenes on Randall's plantation affect you as a reader?

The scenes on Randall's plantation are horrific--how did the writing affect you as a reader?


Posted Oct. 30, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gailf

Join Date: 10/30/16

Posts: 1

RE: How did the scenes on Randall's plantation affect you as a reader?

The scenes were unbelievable. To know that human beings were treated that way is appalling!


Posted Oct. 30, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mildas

Join Date: 05/11/16

Posts: 7

RE: How did the scenes on Randall's plantation affect you as a reader?

The scenes at Randall's plantation made me cringe and wonder how humans could be so callous. My heart brakes for Cora, who is not only a slave but an outcast among her own people. The brutality of life on Randall's plantation is despicable. It amazes me as to what horrific acts humans are capable of inflicting on others in the name of color, religion, nationality etc.


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

Join Date: 04/25/11

Posts: 25

RE: How did the scenes on Randall's plantation affect you as a reader?

These scenes are scenes that I have learned about, discussed, and even seen on screen, but I felt that the descriptions just made it even that much more visceral. Images that were felt, not just dismissed.


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

Join Date: 03/04/13

Posts: 11

RE: How did the scenes on Randall's plantation affect you as a reader?

The scenes on the plantation reinforced my belief in the reality of the horrors we have read about or seen in movies that some owners inflicted on their slaves. Even when plantation owners were kind, as the Randall's were not, their removal from daily life allowed overseers to take advantage of women and cruelly punish others.


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

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 28

RE: How did the scenes on Randall's plantation affect you as a reader?

I rooted for Cora to lash out even though there were negative consequences but she was strong enough to withstand them. Go Cora!


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

Join Date: 03/01/12

Posts: 12

RE: How did the scenes on Randall's plantation affect you as a reader?

The descriptive scenes of cruelty and mistreatment on Randall's plantation made me sad to think that at one time plantation owners and the slave masters under them felt that the people working their land were subhuman and were to be treated that way. I still hold out hope that not all plantations were operated in that manner.


Posted Nov. 01, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jant's Gravatar
jant

Join Date: 07/15/14

Posts: 20

RE: How did the scenes on Randall's plantation affect you as a reader?

Whitehead is an amazing writer - his descriptions of life on the plantation were so heart breaking - I had to take breaks. I know it is all true and to know humans can be so utterly cruel is gut-wrenching. I wince at all the white people who accepted what they were told about the slaves and felt supported by their religion in doing so. This world can be so cruel even today when people look the other way when they see a refugee etc. etc.


jan t
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: How did the scenes on Randall's plantation affect you as a reader?

Like jant I had to take breaks from reading. The brutal depictions of life on the Randall plantation were hard to take, especially because they are based in truth. If I'd thought Whitehead was making it all up it wouldn't have been so difficult.

I don't understand how people can treat other human beings like that, even if they view them as "subhuman." The way we treat all creatures defines our character.


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

Join Date: 01/25/16

Posts: 42

RE: How did the scenes on Randall's plantation affect you as a reader?

It's horrifying to think about people being so brutally cruel to other people. The images that Whitehead created affected me greatly. I felt ashamed and very upset about how Randall treated his slaves. The thinking of the time about slaves being property and not human was appalling. Whitehead didn't really use long, detailed passages to let the reader know what had happened, but his words created such strong images for me.


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

Join Date: 02/04/16

Posts: 73

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RE: How did the scenes on Randall's plantation affect you as a reader?

I too had to take breaks from the horrific scenes depicted. At the same time, what struck me was the spirit of the slaves. Isn't this the true spirit of an emerging country...survival and happiness within an environment that has no escape? Yet the community of the slaves supports, enriches and empowers them to carry on. With today's stresses and complex politics, I think this is something worthy of attention.


Posted Nov. 03, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 130

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RE: How did the scenes on Randall's plantation affect you as a reader?

It was hard to read; I wanted to escape this setting as much as Cora. Like dorianbc, I found the vividness and directness of his writing made his images felt, not easily dismissed or forgotten. I'm sure it wasn't news to anyone that this kind of horror was part of life at many plantations; but it's one thing to see a mention in a history book and another to experience it through such powerful writing. Not just the torture, or sexual abuse, but the tedium, the chronic aches and pains, grief at inevitable loss of significant relationships, the hopelessness, the struggle to want to stay alive or to have to pretend to dance for the master's amusement... Time seemed to move slowly in this part of the book, compared to the fast pace of the journey, another sign of Whitehead's brilliant writing.


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

Join Date: 04/18/12

Posts: 35

RE: How did the scenes on Randall's plantation affect you as a reader?

Right before reading this book, I had just read Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow. So I was already thinking about the legacy of slavery in modern times. Perhaps because of that, the descriptions didn't hit me quite as viscerally as they hit other people, or I was better prepared. But I loved Cora's confrontation with Blake and what she did with the doghouse.


Posted Nov. 06, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sjd

Join Date: 10/31/16

Posts: 2

RE: How did the scenes on Randall's plantation affect you as a reader?

Although I have read other books and watched movies that depict similar brutality, Whitehead's descriptions of the excessive physical and mental cruelty were extremely powerful . Many readers would hope to believe that the conditions on most plantations, through the centuries of enslavement, were not as horrendous. After reading this book, I have come to the realization that thousands of adult human beings cannot be kept enslaved without the continual threat of physical, emotional and mental torture.


Posted Nov. 06, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kellyo

Join Date: 09/15/16

Posts: 36

RE: How did the scenes on Randall's plantation affect you as a reader?

I have read some things on slavery and watched Roots and Twelve Years a Slave. I knew about the beatings and rape of slaves, but some of the scenes in this book were so graphic it was hard to read. Colson Whitehead did a great job of describing the scenes including the sounds and smells that you don't get from watching a movie. It is hard to imagine someone being able to distance themselves so much that they cannot see the humanity in another person and see them as objects. I kept thinking what kind of person thinks up this kind of cruelty? Unfortunately, hearing news stories of ISIS burning a man alive, and reading about the torture of both people and animals shows that man is still capable of horrific brutality.


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

Join Date: 10/15/14

Posts: 57

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RE: How did the scenes on Randall's plantation affect you as a reader?

I was awakened to human suffering as I had not been before. Kellyo (above) is so correct in mentioning the smells and sounds that are presented more clearly than ever. I was ashamed for people I do/did not know, and I was forced to look at myself more closely than ever.


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

Join Date: 12/02/13

Posts: 8

RE: How did the scenes on Randall's plantation affect you as a reader?

Whitehead's powerful prose had quite an impact on me. The subject matter was not new, but it was presented so vividly. It makes me sick to know how humans have treated, and continue to treat, their fellow man. In this case, it is the white man who acts so horribly, and makes me ashamed, but unfortunately, it seems that all races can come up with terrible tortures. Why are people like this?


Posted Nov. 19, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorothyl

Join Date: 04/15/12

Posts: 80

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RE: How did the scenes on Randall's plantation affect you as a reader?

They were very hard to read. I felt a sense of dread anticipating future horrors. I couldn't read the book at night and had to read in small doses because many of the scenes made me sick and ashamed that human beings could be treated this way.


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

Join Date: 01/31/13

Posts: 82

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RE: How did the scenes on Randall's plantation affect you as a reader?

I felt the plantation chapters were very believable and I could picture how upsetting the changes of plantation ownership could be especially in the hand of such an abusive "master." The uncertainty and unpredictableness of your circumstances was well described and carried throughout the story.


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: How did the scenes on Randall's plantation affect you as a reader?

The scenes on the plantation were horrible - painful to read. I know we've read & seen the cruelty of man to man & animal from the beginning of time. However to be involved with characters so real, with depth & realism as Mr. Whitehead portrays, made it especially difficult to continue reading.


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