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When speaking of Valentine's Farm, Cora explains "Even if the adults were free .... Only the children could take full advantage of their dreaming. If the white men let them." What makes this so impactful both in the novel and today?

Created: 10/27/16

Replies: 5

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

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When speaking of Valentine's Farm, Cora explains "Even if the adults were free .... Only the children could take full advantage of their dreaming. If the white men let them." What makes this so impactful both in the novel and today?

When speaking of Valentine's Farm, Cora explains "Even if the adults were free of the shackles that held them fast, bondage had stolen too much time. Only the children could take full advantage of their dreaming. If the white men let them." What makes this so impactful both in the novel and today?


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

Join Date: 06/13/11

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RE: When speaking of Valentine's Farm, Cora explains "Even if the adults were free .... Only the children could take full advantage of their dreaming. If the white men let them." What makes this so impactful both in the novel and today?

The children were young enough to receive an education and work somewhere else than the cotton fields. The parents' lives were very set and had been filled with trauma making them almost frozen in time.


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

Join Date: 02/05/16

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RE: When speaking of Valentine's Farm, Cora explains "Even if the adults were free .... Only the children could take full advantage of their dreaming. If the white men let them." What makes this so impactful both in the novel and today?

I agree with joycew. Cora knows that she, and the other adults who come to the farm from slavery, can never fully shake the trauma. Much as they may cherish their freedom, they can't fully live into it. But the children who have only known freedom would not carry that burden, and if their freedom wasn't challenged or undermined by white people -- a big if -- they could follow their dreams and never know how much it saps one's spirit and hope, for a human being to be seen, thought of, and treated like an animal, or a disposable piece of property, or simply as an enemy, judged as a threat or a failure on sight alone (like today; a white man's fear and loathing can get you shot like Trayvon Martin).

Cora knows this, but Whitehead knows that most white Americans do not realize it, and that is what makes this quote, and this novel, full of impact for today. Through Cora he is trying to help us recognize our own white privilege. For most whites, we do not have to live in this constant fear and see our children's joy and hopes crushed just because they are born white.


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

Join Date: 06/10/13

Posts: 27

RE: When speaking of Valentine's Farm, Cora explains "Even if the adults were free .... Only the children could take full advantage of their dreaming. If the white men let them." What makes this so impactful both in the novel and today?

Parents always dream that what they fought so hard for will somehow better their children's and future generations lives, that it was not all in vain.

Freedom of all kinds come with a fierce determination, and individuals resolve that social justice will prevail.


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

Join Date: 04/05/12

Posts: 44

RE: When speaking of Valentine's Farm, Cora explains "Even if the adults were free .... Only the children could take full advantage of their dreaming. If the white men let them." What makes this so impactful both in the novel and today?

The adults are branded by their experience as slaves. Cora muses on the brands on other escaped or freed slaves who lived at Valentines, grateful that even though she bore the marks of Terrance Randall's wrath, she had never been burned like so many of her friends. The she adds that all of them bear the brands of slavery whether external or internal, and their lives are forever marked by the experience.

But, I think Cora is optimistic in thinking that the African children who grow up free can take full advantage of their opportunities. The history of our country up to today attests to the fact that the brand runs deeper than Cora dreams. The black child with no hope for a future outside of the poverty and injustice he has known is our accusation. How can we change it and help realize Cora's dream?


Posted Nov. 23, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marganna

Join Date: 10/14/11

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RE: When speaking of Valentine's Farm, Cora explains "Even if the adults were free .... Only the children could take full advantage of their dreaming. If the white men let them." What makes this so impactful both in the novel and today?

All well said above.
Having lived through the horrors that the adults have experience it's easy to see they will never be free. It's like being in a car wreck - you will never be without that experience & that is minor compared to the brutality the slaves experienced. The children have not been "branded" in the literal or figurative sense of the word. They can live with pure dreams of a happy & free life.


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