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The Underground Railroad (novel) - Section 5 Summary & Analysis

Colson Whitehead
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Summary

Stevens – In this brief chapter, the night-time activities of Dr. Stevens (first seen in Section 4) are revealed: he, in collaboration with an unscrupulous man named Carpenter, works as a body snatcher, retrieving (and sometimes stealing) bodies to meet the need of medical students like himself needing to study anatomy. Narration describes at some length the often criminal ways and means in which competitive body snatchers obtained bodies, and how eventually, Stevens and Carpenter stole only the bodies of “niggers,” the disappearances of which were rarely as awkward as the disappearances of white bodies. Narration also describes how Stevens considers himself non-racist, recognizing how the dissection of “negro” bodies identified them as being essentially the same as white people. “In death the negro became a human being. Only then was he the white man’s equal” (139).

North Carolina, Part 1, p. 142 – 148. Here again, the chapter begins...

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This section contains 1,412 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Underground Railroad (novel) Study Guide
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