Please put your comments for The Underground Railroad book club discussion questions in the comment area below.
1. The Underground Railroad focuses on freedom. We see that freedom is a perspective that changes with the person and the time. What exactly does freedom mean to Cora? How does she react when she first gets to North Carolina? How does her view later change? Is her reaction what you’d expect from being a slave?
2. Days before their departure, a slave was caught and made an example of. He was tortured and killed. Why do you think Cora changed her mind and decided to leave with Caesar right after that?
3. Before reading The Underground Railroad, did you know much about American Slavery and the Underground Railroad? Did it prompt you to find out more about slavery and the history of the Underground Railroad?
4. Did the book hold your attention? How did the author’s structure of the book help in maintaining your interest?
5. The Underground Railroad contained Ridgeway’s perspective as a slave catcher. Did you find that it added a more balanced approach and give you a better understanding of the historical period?
6. What was the significance of Ridgeway’s behavior and the treatment of Cora when he bought her a dress and took her out to dinner? Was that something you’d imagine a slave catcher to do?
7. The horror of slavery is depicted throughout the book ranging from general attitudes of slavery to graphic violence. The cruelty and violence came from both black and white characters. Did you find it too much to handle? Was it what you expected?
8. What did you find surprising in The Underground Railroad? Was there a turn of events that happened that you didn’t expect?
9. Cora’s journey to be free was up and down. To what extent do you think Cora is lucky? Was it her being resourceful and smart that kept her alive?
10. What was Colson Whitehead’s message or underlying premise in The Underground Railroad?
11. What did you think of the author’s style of writing? Did Whitehead use of references to other books or things that were done in the 20th century make the story more believable? How effective was his style in conveying his message?
12. Was there a character that you liked the most or hated? Which did you relate to the most?
13. What was your favorite part of the book? Why?
14. Who would you recommend this book to? Would you recommend this book to a particular friend?
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