Literary Elements In The Underground Railroad

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Literature is often credited with the ability to enhance one’s understanding of history by providing a view of a former conflict. In doing so, the reader is able to gain both an emotional and logistical understanding of a historically significant event. Additionally, literature provides context that can help the reader develop a deeper understanding of the political climate of a time period. Within the text of The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead’s, the use of literary elements such as imagery, motif, and paradox amplifies the reader’s understanding of early 19th century slavery and its role in the South of the United States of America. Throughout the novel, Whitehead utilizes a girl named Cora to navigate the political and personal consequences of escaping slavery, the Underground Railroad, and her transition from the title of fugitive to freed. Cora’s ability to convey descriptions of events both tragic and hope-filled such as the dehumanization of slaves or the truth of freedom, while utilizing literary elements, create an emotional understanding of the 1800’s of the United States. From this, derives a bond with the reader that pushes their understanding of the evil nature of slavery that society deemed appropriate therefore enhancing their understanding of history. While only glossed over in most classroom settings of the twenty-first century, students often neglect the sad but true reality that the backbone of slavery, was the dehumanization of an entire race

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