In chapter XXXI Tom is the possession of cruel plantation owner Simon Legree. They are traveling by boat. For his sale, Tom had been dressed in his best suit. Legree uses the time on the boat to go through Tom’s truck of belongings and to mock and belittle the slave. He forces Tom to change into ragged clothing. Some of Tom’s items, Legree keeps. Some items, he throws overboard. Legree finds Tom’s hymnal and realizes that Tom is a religious man.
Well, I’ll soon have that out of you. I have non o’yer bawling, praying, singing niggers on my place; so remember. No mind yourself.” he said with a stamp and a fierce glance of his gray eye, directed at Tom, “I’m your church now! You understand,–you’ve got to be as I say.”
Tom doesn’t respond out loud, but in his heart he answers his new master.
Something within the silent black man answered No! and, as if repeated by an invisible voice, came the words of an old prophetic scroll, as Eva had often read them to him, –“Fear not! for I have redeemed thee. I have called thee by name. Thou art MINE!”
Is this the first time Tom has rebelled against one of his masters?
If so… it’s because he’s following his one, true master… The Master.
The one who died and rose again for Tom.