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In elementary school, students are only told briefly about the history of slavery. In high school, we are shown a new perspective that only highlights the violence and numerous deaths that went on during the transatlantic slave period. While my mind was reminiscing about the two milestones that have passed, I realized that the view of enslavement is always changing based on everyone’s interpretation of resilience and resistance. Many characters in Underground choose to accept the situation in which they were born into while others, like Noah, chose to resist the circumstances they were made to accept. Noah proved to be the most resistant and resilient character in the Underground episodes.
Noah emits signs of resilience when he comes back from being captured by the slave hunters. Earlier in the episode, we see that Noah is captured and brought back to plantation while also holding the key to everyone’s freedom. Noah did not dwell on the fact that his plan to run backfired, he continued to his goal to become a free man. Noah comes back to the plantation faking a leg injury so that his master and those around him would not watch him so closely. When Hennery asks about his limp in The Macon 7 episode he claims, “Oh, I got to let them think I’m weak, that I ain’t no threat.” By Noah initially faking his leg injury he was emitting a sign of resilience since he could regroup after his initial plan failed.
Noah demonstrates a sign of resistance by gathering other slaves on the plantation to run with him. Noah believed that if there was a larger group of slaves running it would be very difficult for the bounty hunters to catch them all. In brainstorming discreet escape plans, Noah demonstrates just how smart he is. He states, “We do this together, we can stand as free men.” This is an example of Noah’s resistance since the slave masters created an environment for the slaves to not trust anyone.
Noah presents signs of resistance when he is in a standoff with Cato. Noah is now in the process of convincing the men to join in his race to freedom. His plan almost comes to an abrupt stop when Cato informs in War Chest that, “You might’ve fooled them, but I see you… You think you a free man”. We hear Noah become very enraged by Cato continuously provoking him, however his resistance is evident since he manages to voice his rage at Cato without breaking his facade of being injured.
Noah demonstrates a sign of resilience when he is spotted repairing the wheel on Mr. Jacks wagon. Noah knows that he will not be able to use the map unless he can read it. It becomes apparent what he plans to do when he comes out of the trees toward Mr. Jack’s wagon. He wants to bargain with Mr. Jack’s so he can get some sheets of paper and pens so he could decipher the message of the map. Jack’s at first believes he is joking until he notices that Noah is not laughing. Jack’s starts to panic and tries to deter Noah from his initial purchase, but in War Chest he asserts, “You probably got a few more miles left on that wheel before it give out… and you still got a bent axle. That is, if the accident hadn’t cracked your head open.” He manages to scare Mr. Jacks into complying, but gets spotted by Cato and his overseer. Noah displays resilience in this encounter because he does not let Cato’s constant prying get in the way of his goal.
Noah emits signs of resilience when he is put in a complex situation by Cato. Noah is now starting to see his plan develop since he has six others that are ready to run with him, but his plan becomes even more difficult when his own kind, Cato threatens to out him to the master. In this scene one can see how far Noah is ready to go to reach freedom. The hesitation in involving Cato in his plans is evident by the lapsing in his breath at the end of episode one. Noah has no choice but to accept the situation and allow him to run with them. Noah displays resilience in this situation by not crumbling under Cato’s threats and uses this new problem as a solution in “War Chest”.
In “War Chest”, Noah displays signs of resilience when he creates an elaborate plan to get a gun at the plantation dance. Noah realized that during his capture in “The Malcom 7” that he needed a way to protect himself during the journey to freedom. The solution to the problem is at the soiree that is being thrown for the slaves. He knows that this is the only opportunity for him to retrieve some fire power to continue with his plan. Noah, then surprises us with his plan to enter the house. He plans to endure the host’s touch so that Cato can sneak into the house and retrieve the gun because he knows “She always picks[him]” (War Chest). This exemplifies resilience since Noah was willing to endure the hostess touch to retrieve the gun.
Noah shows signs of resistance when he pulls a gun out on Cato at the plantation dance. Noah was a very smart, cunning, persuasive man. He used this to his advantage at the dance by having Cato in the bed with “Bareback Shaw”. After he gets the gun Cato tries to kill Noah for reminding him that he is also a slave. Noah displays resistance in this scene when he pulls out a gun on Cato.
Noah may be a fictional character, but he showed many examples of resistance and resilience. The amount of resistance and resilience shown in the two episodes is brilliant and manages to present a different view of enslavement to the viewers. Through the constant struggles and arguments, Noah still presents himself as the most resistant and resilient character.
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