I'm happy to read Dinah's comments, where she points out the principled and deeply courageous response of the character Uncle Tom to the conditions of slavery. The common understanding of the term "an Uncle Tom" is a complete perversion of the novel's portrayal. Tom is principled, he holds his Christian principles dear, and he refuses to abandon them and conform to Legree's demands that he be sadistic and exploitative, like Legree. He refuses, and Legree's fury at his refusal confirms the victory -- and demonstrates the books' central conflict -- of Tom's principles over those of Legree. In truth, Legree is the slave (to his baser nature) and Tom is the free man who follows his own path no matter the cost in comfort and safety. How many of us can claim the same victory in our own lives?