Teacher: Yes, and you might have noticed that when we discussed that book we did not consider him as some kind of a retard or brainwashed person who did not want to be free. That was something else.
Nina. He loved his young man like a son. That made him equal to him, slave or not. Savelyich was already free from his point of view because the sole purpose of his life was to be with that young man. His duty was his honor. BTW, in the Pushkin's book that young man also put his life on the line for Savelyich; they became inseparable.
Teacher: Like Scipio and Augustine St. Clare, right?
Sasha. Yes, and Tom too. If Augustine had gone to war, Tom would be with him. I consider that even if there was a Negro uprising, Tom would have tried to save Augustine and his family.
Teacher: Ok how about Simon Legree? Would Tom try to save him if there was an uprising?
Natasha. Yes, I think he would. How many times he rejects violence, you cannot even count. We here know that non-violence does not mean weakness. Even if violence is necessary we here never considered it as something good.
Teacher: But our teachings, those red ties on you, they are associated with bloody struggle for equality, the overthrow of oppressors, the Civil War here which was very bloody and unjust, the sacrifice for people to be equal and not to be slaves.
Nina: Yes, that's why in the book George Harris represents that active, more revolutionary person who makes his own destiny. But Tom made his choice willingly, as a free man and he actually endured much more than George to stick to his guts. At the same time his influence was overwhelming. There seem to be two kinds of courage, equally paramount: the one that calls to fight and the one who tells you to stay firm on what you are. The first is more admired but the second is more noble.
Kolya; I think we are avoiding something: Tom was very religious. We here do not understand it but it does seem that for him Christ was not just God; He was Tom's only connection to Humanity.
Teacher: We know from the history of our country that many truly religious people were very progressive- they considered that true piousness was to be in serving people. We here declined religion as an opiate for masses but only due to the fact that it was actively used to fortify oppression. Historically both here and in the West religion was used by the ruling classes to help them to oppress people spiritually. As Inquisition was used by Spaniards against the rebellious Holland, here, in Russia the rebels from the so-called "military settlements' were excommunicated. Examples are numerous. In Tom's times in the US the Bible was interpreted by white preachers as the one which justified slavery.
Nina: So there were two Gods in the US -- one for the whites and one for the black- skinned?
Sasha: Yes, as soon as the whites would never go to the same Church as the black -- skinned. I think that as soon as St. Clare defined slavery as "coming from the devil' it is a message in the book that the a lot of white people lost their way and the only true Christians were in fact Uncle Tom and those who helped him or other runaways.
Teacher: if we believe that message, than it is no wonder the book ignited the fire that lead to war. But also if that is feasible, what is that unusual in Uncle Tom? Something we had met before in our history and our real people, something we learn. Don't you feel uneasy when you read about such character whether fictional or real?
Natasha: Yes, that is when you read about that person and try to imagine thyself in his or her place and realize that you would not be able to achieve such level of a feat, such high raise of spiritual perfection. We here call them heroes or "provozvestniki' -- the drivers for the future.
Teacher: Good call, But our country is very ancient and we have other words in our language maybe more suitable for Tom's times if we consider the religious upbringing of his; something more relevant to his environment. We don't use these words anymore but others still do. Anyone knows a word?
Kolya; I think I know. There is only one word for a person depicted. He is portrayed as a Saint.