The Underground Railroad (novel) Short Essay - Answer Key

Colson Whitehead
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1. Discuss the narrative style of the novel. From what point of view is the narrative related? What effects does this narrative style have?

The narrative of The Underground Railroad is related from the third-person perspective of a narrator who is not involved in the action of the story. This narrator focuses on the perspective of Cora. The story is related in the past tense. This perspective gives the reader focus on Cora's thoughts and actions while maintaining a distance that keeps suspense in the story.

2. What is Ajarry's relationship with the protagonist? How is her character described in the novel?

Ajarry is Cora's grandmother. Her story is described in the first chapter, "Ajarry," and relates how Ajarry was captured along with the rest of her village and taken to slave ships for America. Ajarry is a strong character but she is resigned to her fate and does not believe in trying to run.

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