The Underground Railroad

Ajarry Character Analysis

Ajarry is Cora’s grandmother and Mabel’s mother. She was born in Africa before being kidnapped and enslaved slave in America, where she is sold so many times that she comes to believe she is “cursed.” She has three husbands and five children, of which Mabel is the only one to survive. She is well-liked and respected on Randall, and this respect helps protect Mabel and Cora within the enslaved community until Ajarry’s death. She is the first owner of the garden, and she dies on Randall after suffering a brain hemorrhage while working in the field.

Ajarry Quotes in The Underground Railroad

The The Underground Railroad quotes below are all either spoken by Ajarry or refer to Ajarry. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Family, Heritage, and Home Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Doubleday edition of The Underground Railroad published in 2016.
Chapter 1: Ajarry Quotes

She knew that the white man's scientists peered beneath things to understand how they worked. The movement of the stars across the night, the cooperation of humors in the blood. The temperature requirements for a healthy cotton harvest. Ajarry made a science of her own black body and accumulated observations… in America the quirk was that people were things.

Related Characters: Ajarry (speaker)
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:

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To escape the boundary of the plantation was to escape the fundamental principles of your existence: impossible.

Related Characters: Ajarry
Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:

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Ajarry Character Timeline in The Underground Railroad

The timeline below shows where the character Ajarry appears in The Underground Railroad. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Ajarry
Family, Heritage, and Home Theme Icon
Endurance vs. Rebellion Theme Icon
Death and Freedom Theme Icon
Value, Ownership, and Commodification Theme Icon
Brutality and Violation Theme Icon
History, Myth, and Fantasy Theme Icon
...the north, she says no; this refusal is related to the experiences of Cora’s grandmother, Ajarry. Ajarry was kidnapped from Africa as a child along with her father (Cora’s great grandfather),... (full context)
Family, Heritage, and Home Theme Icon
Endurance vs. Rebellion Theme Icon
Death and Freedom Theme Icon
Value, Ownership, and Commodification Theme Icon
Brutality and Violation Theme Icon
History, Myth, and Fantasy Theme Icon
Ajarry is sold so many times “you would thought she was cursed.” One of her masters... (full context)
Family, Heritage, and Home Theme Icon
Endurance vs. Rebellion Theme Icon
Death and Freedom Theme Icon
Value, Ownership, and Commodification Theme Icon
Brutality and Violation Theme Icon
Ajarry has five children; two die of fever, one of blood poisoning, and one is killed... (full context)
Chapter 2: Georgia
Family, Heritage, and Home Theme Icon
Endurance vs. Rebellion Theme Icon
Death and Freedom Theme Icon
Value, Ownership, and Commodification Theme Icon
History, Myth, and Fantasy Theme Icon
With or without a feast, Cora spends every Sunday afternoon tending to her garden. Ajarry used to tend to it, before Randall plantation became as prosperous as it is now.... (full context)
Chapter 10: Indiana
Family, Heritage, and Home Theme Icon
Death and Freedom Theme Icon
Brutality and Violation Theme Icon
History, Myth, and Fantasy Theme Icon
...almanac Royal has given her. By this point, she has told Royal all about Randall, Ajarry, Mabel, Blake and the doghouse, and the night she was raped. Royal comforted her, saying... (full context)
Chapter 11: Mabel
Family, Heritage, and Home Theme Icon
Endurance vs. Rebellion Theme Icon
Death and Freedom Theme Icon
History, Myth, and Fantasy Theme Icon
...to eat a turnip from her garden. It is deliciously sweet. Mabel did not inherit Ajarry’s “perseverance,” but she did get the garden, “the most valuable land in all of Georgia.”... (full context)