Trapped Underground

Trapped Underground

Life isn’t easy being a slave. Underground by Jean Ferris is about a girl named Charlotte. She is a sixteen year old slave girl who was separated from her family and sent off to work as a maid in Kentucky at a place called Mammoth Cave Hotel. This book takes place in 1893. Charlotte has two brothers who she thinks about frequently. In Charlotte’s new home in Kentucky however, she is living the way she imagines her brothers are living. She has met three boys named Nick, Stephan, and Mat. There is also a very warm hearted cook named Mandy.

Sixteen year old Charlotte, the narrator, feels trapped being a slave. She never gets to chose what she will work as, where she is being sold or even if she will work or be sold at all! As trapped as she is, Charlotte finds the thought of being trapped under the ground absolutely terrifying. Stephen Bishop on the other hand, finds the cave very interesting and becomes the first person to ever explore inside it. The night of Stephan’s triumph, a white man who turns out to be a reporter comes to the hotel while the slaves were eating dinner. By everyone’s surprise, he reaches out to shake Stephen’s hand and congratulates him. Charlotte hears his remarkable story during the interview and becomes curious about Stephen Bishop himself. Further investigation brings her to discover that many runaway slaves come secretly to the hotel for shelter. Stephen feels free enough underground. The cave is where he feels he belongs. The conflict in this book is Charlotte against herself. She wonders if she should stay with her trapped life, or run away, risking her own life, and possibly ruining her chance of becoming free.

Young dynamic Stephen feels free, while beautiful determined Charlotte is deciding whether to run, or not. She has found out that the cave in which she is terrified of getting stuck in forever, is her passageway to freedom. She walks through the cave squeezing through tight corners and cracks, still very nervous and scared of getting stuck forever underground. After days of walking and squeezing and nerves, she finally steps out into the fresh air and fills her lungs with the smell of freedom.