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The Underground Railroad
A magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's desperate bid for...
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How do you feel about Cora's mother's decision to run away? Does your opinion change once you've learned about her fate?

Created: 10/27/16

Replies: 14

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1358

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How do you feel about Cora's mother's decision to run away? Does your opinion change once you've learned about her fate?

How do you feel about Cora's mother's decision to run away? Does your opinion change once you've learned about her fate?


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

Join Date: 02/20/13

Posts: 71

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RE: How do you feel about Cora's mother's decision to run away? Does your opinion change once you've learned about her fate?

I totally understood her desire to run but questioned it as a mother. Than I learned she was trying to get back and I felt differently/better about her.


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

Join Date: 03/12/14

Posts: 16

RE: How do you feel about Cora's mother's decision to run away? Does your opinion change once you've learned about her fate?

That was her only hope for a future. It shows how desperate her situation was. She felt like the alternative was death. Maybe she felt her actions would inspire others, like her daughter.


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

Join Date: 03/04/13

Posts: 11

RE: How do you feel about Cora's mother's decision to run away? Does your opinion change once you've learned about her fate?

I couldn't blame her for wanting to escape but as a mother it's unfathomable to think of deserting your child.


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: How do you feel about Cora's mother's decision to run away? Does your opinion change once you've learned about her fate?

Cora's mother should have left a note saying she would work and save up money to buy her daughter's freedom. Then Cora would feel her mother did love her.


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

Join Date: 01/25/16

Posts: 48

RE: How do you feel about Cora's mother's decision to run away? Does your opinion change once you've learned about her fate?

I was horrified at the idea of Mabel leaving her child behind. I had several thoughts about this. Initially, I thought maybe Mabel felt that having Cora with her would slow her down, and lessen her chances of a successful escape. I also considered that because children were so often separated from their slave mothers, perhaps Mabel didn't really allow herself to feel a close bond with Cora, not feeling too attached, because separation was likely, and probable. I'm glad the author showed us later what really happened to Mabel. Although I was disappointed that she didn't escape after all and never lived free somewhere, my feelings toward her changed, knowing that she did love her daughter, and was on her way back to her. Thinking that her mother had escaped successfully though, provided Cora with hope that it could be done.


Posted Nov. 02, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 164

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RE: How do you feel about Cora's mother's decision to run away? Does your opinion change once you've learned about her fate?

I felt she was just overwhelmed with her failure to protect her daughter even before she left... that it was a kind of anguish to live in daily dread of being separated, or waiting for the day when she would have to witness her daughter being sexually violated. Whether she ran away or stayed, this would have happened either way: as a parent she could not protect her child. Her chapter begins, "The first and the last things she gave her daughter were apologies..." Mabel was driven by remorse. I felt Cora's pain at not having a chance even to say goodbye, but there was also plenty of evidence that any scenes of farewell could have prevented Mabel from leaving, while signaling her intention to leave: she would have exposed her daughter to more trauma at seeing Mabel's being tortured, likely to the point of death, for punishment. Likewise, bringing her daughter along could have increased the odds they would both die that way. So my opinion didn't really change, but I was glad to read that she had resolved to go back, somehow, to reach her daughter and pass on her hope; ironically, the tragic way that she died ensured that her daughter would have that hope that escape was truly possible, because Cora would never know that her mother hadn't made it to freedom.

I think this story of Mabel was included to make us fully appreciate the dilemma of the modern day black parent as much as the historical reality. After the fatal shooting of a black student in Chicago a year ago, I heard interviews with black parents on NPR talking about their anguish, very much like Mabel's: how to give them hope and confidence, while also teaching them how to behave to protect themselves, not just IN but also FROM a confrontation with police; how to let them be children but also teach them to be safe in a dangerous street environment. White privilege is not having to worry about that, on top of the inevitable worries about our kids getting sick, or in an accident.


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

Join Date: 09/15/16

Posts: 36

RE: How do you feel about Cora's mother's decision to run away? Does your opinion change once you've learned about her fate?

At first it seemed unfathomable for Mable to leave her daughter behind. I could not imagine leaving my child behind in those horrific circumstances. I kept thinking Cora would meet up with her mother later in the book. When I read the chapter on Mabel, I got a sense of her desperation. She had reached her breaking point. I was glad that she had second thoughts and her maternal instincts kicked in. She seemed to have gained a little sense of power/freedom from her brief escape, but her love for her daughter was greater. I did not anticipate Mabel dying from a snake bite and really believed she would show up later in the book with Cora. It was good that the author saved this revelation until the end. The idea that her mother got away gave mystery to the book and gave Cora and some of the other slaves (Caesar) hope that they too could possibly escape.


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

Join Date: 03/27/13

Posts: 20

RE: How do you feel about Cora's mother's decision to run away? Does your opinion change once you've learned about her fate?

I have to believe that Mabel felt she had no other choice, otherwise there could be no justification for her to leave Cora. The treatment she had experienced, and the knowledge that her daughter would experience the same, may have driven her to make the decision.


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

Join Date: 10/27/16

Posts: 2

RE: How do you feel about Cora's mother's decision to run away? Does your opinion change once you've learned about her fate?

I have not experienced the oppression that takes away the right to be a mother bear to your children. I have not experienced knowing that my children are not my own, but instead something that I birthed for a master who owns them. Knowing that she couldn't protect Cora regardless, and that she could easily be separated from her at any time, I get it. It's a desperate situation in which a mother, from the day that she was born, has been stripped of even the most basic human rights and treated like cattle.


Posted Nov. 12, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mildas

Join Date: 05/11/16

Posts: 7

RE: How do you feel about Cora's mother's decision to run away? Does your opinion change once you've learned about her fate?

I felt that Mabel's decision to run away was selfish but understandable as she lived a brutal life and did not see much hope for her daughter. However, being a mother she could not go through with her plan as she could not leave her daughter behind. Cora does not know this and cannot understand her mother's actions.


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

Join Date: 10/15/14

Posts: 92

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RE: How do you feel about Cora's mother's decision to run away? Does your opinion change once you've learned about her fate?

Given the life that she lived, perhaps she felt she had no choice and that in leaving she might be able to find a way to help her daughter - or at least set an example for her. Cora, unfortunately, does not know what she does not know - and as a result cannot comprehend why her mother chose this route. Reading this book has made me realize that I am vastly undereducated about the plight of slaves in this country. Yes, I heard of the Underground Railroad, I have seen films dedicated to the brutal treatment of people of color, I have read other novels and pieces of non fiction about plantation life. Even the term "Underground Railroad" - in my mind - focused more on the white men and women who tried to help rather than those who suffered so terrible and needed help. Cora's mother, and Cora also, are only two of those individuals; this book is makes their world very real. What other choice did Cora's mother have truly?


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

Join Date: 10/14/11

Posts: 111

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RE: How do you feel about Cora's mother's decision to run away? Does your opinion change once you've learned about her fate?

I cannot imagine leaving your child - I cannot image life as a slave & suffering the abuse they endured. I look at characters whose experiences are totally different from mine & I think they are doing what they have to do. I try to understand their life as they are experiencing it. What would I do? Thank God, I'll not have to find this out. Sophie's Choice, anyone?


Posted Nov. 24, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pamelah

Join Date: 05/19/11

Posts: 24

RE: How do you feel about Cora's mother's decision to run away? Does your opinion change once you've learned about her fate?

I totally understood her desire to run away. I also understood her decision to return, regardless of the consequences, to get her daughter.


Posted Jan. 23, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
elizabethk

Join Date: 06/11/11

Posts: 11

RE: How do you feel about Cora's mother's decision to run away? Does your opinion change once you've learned about her fate?

I think she felt running was the only chance she had to survive with dignity. She may have also thought, in the long run,she could somehow eventually help her daughter. Her decision to return was not as thought out. I would think she was aware of what happened to runaways after they returned.


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