Narrative Structure and the Unnarrated in Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad
This paper analyzes the narrative structure of Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad against the grain of traditional slave narrative conventions. The novel may be categorized as a neoslave narrative, telling the story of a slave girl, Cora, and her escape from a Georgia plantation using the “Underground Railroad” mentioned in the title. My working hypothesis takes cue from the explicit, literal rendering of the Underground Railroad in the text, which may be considered as symptomatic of Whitehead’s approach to the slave narrative convention, in that his novel discloses or makes visible aspects which, in slave narratives, were left unnarrated.
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