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Do you think Old Silas believes his cant about slavery and then changes his mind, or do you think it was an act?

Created: 01/28/12

Replies: 8

Posted Jan. 28, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
admin

Join Date: 10/11/10

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Do you think Old Silas believes his cant about slavery and then changes his mind, or do you think it was an act?

Old Silas seems to side with Master Satterfield against Polly and goes so far as to support the institution of slavery to other slaves. In the end, we discover that he has been working with Polly on an escape plan. Does this incongruity make Old Silas hypocritical or just smart? Do you think he believes his cant about slavery and then changes his mind, or do you think it was an act?


Posted Jan. 31, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
sarahd

Join Date: 10/16/10

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RE: Do you think Old Silas believes his cant about slavery and then changes his mind, or do you think it was an act?

I am very interested to read what others thought about this because I'm still on the fence. At first, I thought Silas was totally in Master's pocket, but then it becomes clear that he and Polly masterminded the escape. Obviously, he couldn't have been personally invested in the philosophy about slavery that he espoused in public and organize an escape. If he changed his mind, do you think it had more to do with Polly helping him or with Master not needing him as much anymore?


Sarah D
Posted Feb. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
scottishrose

Join Date: 07/24/11

Posts: 11

RE: Do you think Old Silas believes his cant about slavery and then changes his mind, or do you think it was an act?

I think Old Silas was a pretty smart fellow and I don't believe he changed his mind because of anything Polly did. I think that he was trying to work his way back into the master's good graces so he would have the "freedom" to move around the plantation and visit the slave quarters, something that a house slave would not normally do. This gave him the opportunity to convince other slaves to join in the escape. He was a leader of the community where they moved after their escape which says something about the respect that the other escaped slaves had for him and his skills.


Posted Feb. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
harriettek

Join Date: 10/19/10

Posts: 22

RE: Do you think Old Silas believes his cant about slavery and then changes his mind, or do you think it was an act?

I tend to agree with Sarahd. The author may have been purposely ambiguous about Old Silas. I still have not made up my mind. I am inclined to believe that his position gave him a certain comfort level, and, due mainly to Polly's actions and those of the master, he came to realize that freedom was the way.


Posted Feb. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
joyces

Join Date: 06/16/11

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RE: Do you think Old Silas believes his cant about slavery and then changes his mind, or do you think it was an act?

I think I agree with scottishrose that Silas played his role to the hilt as the good slave to ensure his ability to move about the plantation and be privey to more of the whole picture and have access to more of the slave population. Polly Shine figured him out pretty quickly and they both comtinued to play their roles well and use each other as partners in the planned escape.


Posted Feb. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Reader

Join Date: 08/11/11

Posts: 11

RE: Do you think Old Silas believes his cant about slavery and then changes his mind, or do you think it was an act?

I think the younger Silas who enjoyed special status with the master might not have rocked the boat, but I think he always would have preferred not to be a slave. His stature has fallen by the time we are reading the story and I think he puts on the act to regain his status with the master. I believe he initially feels threatened by Polly and resents her power and status. He does change his mind about her after she treats him and he gets to know her.


Posted Feb. 03, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Tennis Chik

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 4

RE: Do you think Old Silas believes his cant about slavery and then changes his mind, or do you think it was an act?

Sadly, I think it was an act. I think it was about a very wise man understanding the political situation and knowing how to handle the current of awful winds that blew in the US before 1870's and perhaps beyond...


Posted Feb. 25, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
tracyb

Join Date: 09/22/11

Posts: 29

RE: Do you think Old Silas believes his cant about slavery and then changes his mind, or do you think it was an act?

Old Silas played a game that was to his advantage. We were not privy of his personal conversations with the other slaves. Did he preach a sermon that kept others in their place? In his defense I see this as a time when people could only escape in small numbers. Creating an uprising of many people escaping would put everyone in danger. Maybe the role of preacher was a way to keep himself safe.


Posted Feb. 25, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
trezelineb

Join Date: 04/24/11

Posts: 16

RE: Do you think Old Silas believes his cant about slavery and then changes his mind, or do you think it was an act?

I believe Old Silas was simply looking out for himself. Before Polly, it was to his advantage to say he believed slavery was an advantage. Polly allowed him to see advantages to escape ,therefore he changed his thoughts.


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