Feminism in Tar Baby by Toni Morrison and Feminism in The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead Assignment | Get Paper Help

\In African American history, women have been shackled to the idea of being a mere
presence of stupidity and belittleism. Most instances tether on the story of women not thinking
clearly on their decisions. The thought itself is a true illustration of the picture drawn up about
women. In the eyes of those watching, any sign of rebellion towards the standards placed on
African American women is highlighted as disrespect. There shall not be an overcoming let
alone a woman being at the center of such resistance.
However, between Cora in The Underground Railroad and Jadine’s role, a black woman living
in a white man’s world, in Tar Baby, both women beautifully display what it means to go against
the riff and standards placed upon them.
Tar Baby really tackles the theme of feminism by showing the youth and astonishing
looks that Jadine captures. With her beauty and ease of speaking her mind, she easily captures
the attention of male suitors who aren’t exactly forthcoming of their true intentions, which of
course plays a major role and is quite significant. This displays how men feed into their role of
unwanted advancement, or so they actually thought. They act on suave words and the attraction
of women in hopes that the woman literally is dainty enough to fall for their tricks, which is
fairly significant. More than anything, Jadine actually wants to be released from her race and
beauty that causes her so much uncertainty, which displays her innocence of what being black
means to her. Not only does she not feel connected to particularly other fairer skinned women
she lives around, but she also feels judged based solely from it in a huge way. She struggles with
acceptance from other black people who for the most part believe she traded in her race for
beauty and from white people who predominantly control the model-Industry which she partakes
In all intents and purposes a more drastic setting, is the story of Cora- a slave that
actually has been orphaned by her runaway mother. This basically leaves a young cora to fend
for herself in a world that preys on her embarrassment and inability towards freedom. Like
Jadine she soon realizes the importance of finally breaking loose from the chains that bind her,
which showed great courage and perseverance.
As the child of a runaway, she is hunted fanatically once she essentially makes the decision to
escape. The man who literally tries to bring her back to the sullied place she’s running from is
mostly hellbent on putting an end to such rebellion. This for the most part shows how eager and
vengeful the idea of feminism captivity is. Many women during this time period, actually
challenged their placement and predicaments, which is quite significant and forthcoming. They
wanted to genuinely be freed from the clutches that caused actually great misery and pain on
themselves and the people they loved in a big way.
This causes African Americans to take a stand, showcasing everything that they have
been through and why it is very important for people to recognize that their lives do matter.
Blach hardships goes back generation after generation and they all have gone through many
sacrifices to achieve freedom from the people attacking them with racial slurs and powerful
guns. A lot of blood has been shed so that their people could have better lives in the future. Even
now many lives are put at risk because of someone’s ignorance towards a skin color. No one
should have to hold back the way he or she feels about the discrimination towards their own
race.. Different races come together to defeat the real problems in America proving that skin
color should not matter. What should matter is someone’s mindset and the skills.

Shortly before Christmas, an unidentified sailor jumps overboard and swims toward the harbor
of Queen of France in the middle of the night. Unable to reach shore, he climbs aboard a small
yacht and stows away. When the yacht lands, he disembarks onto a small island called Isle
des Chevaliers, and he hides again, this time at a house called L’Arbe de la Croix. Valerian
Street and his wife, Margaret, live in the house, along with their servants, including Ondine and
Sydney. Jadine Childs, the niece of Ondine and Sydney, has come to visit. Before coming back
to the island, she studied at the Sorbonne, an education for which Valerian paid, and worked
as a model in Paris.
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Study Guide
Summary Characters Main Ideas Quotes Further Study Writing Help
Margaret and Valerian fight a lot, mostly because Margaret has invited a number of guests to
come stay, against Valerian’s wishes. One of these guests is the Streets’ son, Michael, but
Valerian doubts that he will really come. After a particularly fierce argument at dinner one
night, Margaret goes to her room, but she quickly returns to the dining room screaming.
Sydney runs to Margaret’s room and returns to announce that there is a man hiding in her
closet. Everyone but Valerian is terrified. Valerian invites the man, whose name is Son, to stay
the night.
The next morning, Margaret, who is extremely upset with Valerian, locks herself in her room.
Meanwhile Jadine’s rich, white boyfriend, Ryk, has sent her a luxurious sealskin coat. Son
shows up in her room as she tries on the coat, and they talk in a flirtatious way that eventually
starts to frighten Jadine. After Son makes some sexually crude remarks, Jadine threatens to
report him to Valerian, after which she goes to find Valerian.
As another servant, Thérèse, does laundry, she thinks about Son, who had been in the house
for several days prior to his discovery and whom Thérèse had been feeding. With Jadine gone
to find Valerian, Son showers in her bathroom. When he is clean, he looks much more
attractive. He finds Valerian before Jadine does, and he impresses Valerian with his knowledge
of gardening and his sense of humor. Valerian tells Sydney to help Son get new clothes, and
Gideon, another servant, and Thérèse take him shopping in a town near L’Arbe de la Croix.
When Jadine sees the cleaned-up Son, she decides not to tell Valerian about his behavior in
her bedroom. Instead, she invites Son on a picnic at the beach, and they talk a lot about their
backgrounds. Despite their differences, they seem to connect on some level. On the way back
from the picnic, their car runs out of gas, and Son leaves to retrieve gas from a pump at the
pier. While Jadine waits, she decides to seek shelter from the sun and abandons the car. On
her way to some nearby trees, she gets stuck in a swamp but manages to escape. Ondine is
upset that Jadine and Son seem to be getting closer, but she does not intervene.
When Christmas arrives, Michael fails to show up, and the other guests get delayed because
of bad weather. Margaret’s spirits sink, and she abandons her elaborate cooking projects and
leaves Ondine to finish them. At Christmas dinner, Valerian upsets Ondine, Sydney, and Son
when he announces that he fired Gideon and Thérèse for stealing apples. A heated argument
breaks out. At the end of it, Ondine reveals that Margaret abused Michael when he was a boy.
Valerian goes into shock, and Son and Jadine leave the table and go to bed together.
Soon after, Jadine and Son leave the island. They go to New York, having a great, carefree time
as lovers. They live in a borrowed apartment, and neither of them has a permanent job, but
they don’t seem to care very much about money. Meanwhile, back on the island, things are
much more subdued, and Valerian refuses to let Margaret explain her actions to him. Ondine
and Sydney worry that they will be fired.
When spring arrives, Jadine and Son visit his hometown of Eloe, Florida. The trip is a disaster
for their relationship, because Jadine hates Eloe, and Son loves it. The many differences
between Jadine and Son come to the surface, and their divisions tear them apart when they
end up back in New York. They fight more and more frequently. After a particularly violent
confrontation, Jadine leaves Son and New York behind. She intends to return to Paris, but first
she stops at Isle des Chevaliers to retrieve her sealskin coat. Ondine is upset that Jadine
seems to care more about the coat than about either Ondine or Sydney, but her anger does
not detain Jadine, and ultimately she heads to Paris, telling Ondine and Sydney not to tell Son
where she has gone. Soon after she departs, Son arrives in Queen of France, and Thérèse
agrees to take him to Isle des Chevaliers by boat, so he can look for Jadine. But instead of
piloting him to L’Arbe de la Croix as she had promised, Thérèse leaves Son on a foggy part of
the island, and she suggests that he still has a choice. He can either keep searching for Jadine,
or he can join the race of wild horsemen on the island, descendants of the first slaves brought
there. The island opens to accommodate Son as he joins the horsemen.
Next section
Popular pages: Tar Baby
Character List
Jadine Childs: Character Analysis
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On Whitehead’s The Underground
Gregory Coles
Home (/) L

iterature Notes (/Literature)
On Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad (/Literature/O/On-Whiteheads-The-Underground-
At A Glance (/Literature/O/On-Whiteheads-The-Underground-Railroad/At-A-Glance)
Table of Contents
At a Glance (/literature/o/on-whiteheads-the-underground-railroad/at-a-glance)
Book Summary (/literature/o/on-whiteheads-the-underground-railroad/book-summary)
Character List and Analysis (/literature/o/on-whiteheads-the-underground-railroad/character-list-andanalysis/
Arnold (/literature/o/on-whiteheads-the-underground-railroad/character-list-and-analysis/arnold)
Caesar (/literature/o/on-whiteheads-the-underground-railroad/character-list-and-analysis/caesar)
Cora (/literature/o/on-whiteheads-the-underground-railroad/character-list-and-analysis/cora)
Minor Characters (/literature/o/on-whiteheads-the-underground-railroad/character-list-and-analysis/minorcharacters)
Character Map (/literature/o/on-whiteheads-the-underground-railroad/character-map)
Summary and Analysis (/literature/o/on-whiteheads-the-underground-railroad/summary-and-analysis/chapter-1)
Chapter 1 (/literature/o/on-whiteheads-the-underground-railroad/summary-and-analysis/chapter-1)
Chapter 2 (/literature/o/on-whiteheads-the-underground-railroad/summary-and-analysis/chapter-2)
Chapter 3 (/literature/o/on-whiteheads-the-underground-railroad/summary-and-analysis/chapter-3)
Chapter 4 (/literature/o/on-whiteheads-the-underground-railroad/summary-and-analysis/chapter-4)
Chapter 5 (/literature/o/on-whiteheads-the-underground-railroad/summary-and-analysis/chapter-5)
Chapter 6 (/literature/o/on-whiteheads-the-underground-railroad/summary-and-analysis/chapter-6)
Chapter 7 (/literature/o/on-whiteheads-the-underground-railroad/summary-and-analysis/chapter-7)
Chapter 8 (/literature/o/on-whiteheads-the-underground-railroad/summary-and-analysis/chapter-8)
Chapter 9 (/literature/o/on-whiteheads-the-underground-railroad/summary-and-analysis/chapter-9)
Chapter 10 (/literature/o/on-whiteheads-the-underground-railroad/summary-and-analysis/chapter-10)
Chapter 11 (/literature/o/on-whiteheads-the-underground-railroad/summary-and-analysis/chapter-11)
At a Glance
Colson Whitehead’s The
Underground Railroad tells the
story of Cora, a runaway slave who
travels from state to state on
railroad cars physically under the
ground of the American South.
Persuaded by a fellow slave named
Caesar, Cora escapes from the
Georgia plantation where she was
born and travels north, riding in
the boxcar of a secret underground train. However, the slave catcher Ridgeway is in pursuit, all
the more determined to catch her because of his failure to catch her mother when she ran away
years before. Ridgeway follows Cora and Caesar to South Carolina, where he captures Caesar.
Cora continues alone to North Carolina, where she spends months hiding in an attic before
being discovered and captured. Her subsequent journey of escape and capture and escape
takes her through Tennessee and Indiana and finally out West, each time riding along the
mysterious underground train tracks called “the underground railroad.”
Written by: Colson Whitehead
Type of Work: Fiction
Genre: Antebellum fiction
First Published: 2016
Chapter 12 (/literature/o/on-whiteheads-the-underground-railroad/summary-and-analysis/chapter-12)
Study Help (/literature/o/on-whiteheads-the-underground-railroad/study-help/quiz)
Quiz (/literature/o/on-whiteheads-the-underground-railroad/study-help/quiz)
Cite this Literature Note (/literature/o/on-whiteheads-the-underground-railroad/at-a-glance?lcitation=true)
Setting (primary): Georgia
Settings (secondary): Ouidah, Benin; South Carolina; North Carolina; Tennessee; Indiana;
Virginia; “the North”
Main Characters: Cora; Caesar; Arnold Ridgeway
Major Thematic Topics: Freedom; the roots of violence; the difficulty of labeling people “good”
and “evil”; how the past influences the present; subtle forms of racial oppression
Major Symbols: Cora’s plot of land; the underground railroads; the Declaration of
Independence; sterilization; dead bodies; the Bible; Gulliver’s Travels
The three most important aspects of The Underground Railroad: First, The Underground
Railroad is unique because of its realistic blend of historical fiction and fantasy. Although what
historians now call “the Underground Railroad” happened above ground and rarely involved
trains, this book imagines the underground railroad as an actual network of underground
tunnels with locomotives running through them. None of the characters ever explain where
these tunnels could have come from or how they could exist for so long without being
discovered. They are clearly metaphorical rather than literal, making Cora’s story seem a bit
fantastical. At the same time, however, other parts of the story are painfully real and true to
history. Several of the chapters start with historically accurate announcements of runaway
slaves. The lurid violence depicted against fugitive slaves really did occur (and the Civil War did
not put an end to this kind of racial violence). Racially motivated forced sterilization, as
inhumane as it seems, has also been a part of American history. The blend of fantasy and history
forces readers to ponder more carefully the shameful events that occurred—and those that are
still occurring—in American race relations.
Second, the novel showcases the damage that can be done by well-intentioned people who
think they are being “liberal” and kind. For instance, the less harsh form of slavery that Caesar
experiences in Virginia makes many people feel like slavery itself isn’t such a bad institution. Yet
this form of slavery still has the power to send Caesar to the Randall plantation, making it part
of the same evil as its harsher Georgia counterpart. Ethel considers herself noble and
compassionate because she wanted to be a missionary to Africa and because she reads the
Bible to Cora. However, she has no interest in Cora’s freedom, and her attitude of racial
superiority is part of the same logic that made slavery an accepted part of American society.
Book Summary
Throughout the book, examples such as these demonstrate that people who think they are
simply “being nice” and are not responsible for the evils of slavery are often still participating in
slavery’s continuation.
Third, the book demonstrates the complexity of the boundaries between “good” and “evil.” As
Ridgeway points out to Cora, she has killed a white boy, making her a “murderer” in the eyes of
the white community. Cora regrets the situation that led to the white boy’s death, but she does
not feel guilty: She did what she needed to do to survive. Ridgeway argues that he is motivated
by the same survival instinct as Cora. Neither of them is inherently good or evil; both are simply
human—and therefore complicated. Of course, Ridgeway’s logic doesn’t hold up, as Cora
observes: Ridgeway kills for money or convenience, as well as for survival. But Cora is also
baffled by Ridgeway’s kindness to Homer. Ridgeway does not seem to be purely evil, just as
Cora does not feel herself to be good. All of the novel’s characters are forced to make moral
choices within a system that limits their options, a system that sometimes makes ethics and
survival incompatible.


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