Summary - Sophia is overwhelmed and grieves. There is a question about stages of grief and Huck Finn in the questionnaire in the student materials.
Points of connection for Muslim students
“What does your religion say about slavery?” - Religion was actually central to the debate about slavery at the time, Mark Twain alludes to this in Huck Finn when Huck decides that “he’ll go to hell then” if that is what freeing slave means (as he has been told) - For more about how religion was used to define slavery see here, to read about how religion inspired abolitionists see here, The topic of slavery in Islam is boiled down pretty well by Sophia here in the book. However, Arab Muslim empires long oversaw expansive slave trades, but the advent of Islam is widely recognized in academia as an event that curtailed slavery. Here is a Muslim narrative on the matter, and to delve much more deeper into the matter see here, and here the BBC has an explanation of “How Islam Moderated Slavery”
“I meant what does your religion say to do when you see evil being committed?” - and Sophia explains what Islam says about this by relaying what is said in a famous Hadith by the Prophet Muhammad. This Hadith is cited in Islamic teaching as evidence for a Muslim's duty to "enjoin the good and forbid the evil" (see verse 3:104 of the Qur'an also). An important point of the Hadith is that the Prophet specifies "if you are unable to do so" which indicates the practicality with which a Muslim is suppose to approach matters and the judgement and deliberation they are suppose to exercise in choose a course of action that has a definite good and will not lead to a greater evil, the concept of which is called maslaha in Islam. They are many more evidences for this, but it is an important point to make because there are Muslims who go to extremes in what they deem be "enjoining the good and forbidding the wrong" without exercising this type of judgment and ascertaining what they are actually "able to do" of good and they end of doing much greater harm.
It may be an interesting question to ask later on in the book whether or not Sophia exercised good judgement in what she was able to do of enjoying the good.
“Methodist services because half the time the sermons are about abolishing slavery." - Remember often times Muslim students may not know the differences between Christian denominations and may the terms that denominate then may not be familiar to them. Suffice it to point out that Methodists, or Methodism, was a branch of Christianity (can mention they were Protestant if you think they have that in their background knowledge, if they have studied the colonial period of the US before they will probably have some familiarity with Protestantism as a concept) started in the late 18th century by a man named John Wesley who was strongly abolitionist and believe Christians needed to really focus on having good character. It can be mentioned that many blacks became Methodist Christians also. The Jordans are likely Baptist, being from the south, and there were both Methodists and Baptists on all sides of the slavery question.
“She was showing the strength and fortitude that her hardships had bred in her.” - this sort of shows Sophia reading some Islamic traits into Abbey, as it articulates what the purpose of hardship is by Islamic teaching. It can be a worthwhile question to ask students if they agree that hardships can make a person stronger, and if they have seen this in their lives or in their family's life. I think they, like most people, will agree with this precept (and when they do agree with it you can joke that if that is the case you will give them very hard tests to make them stronger students!)
"They seemed just as far fetched" - now notice here that Sophia is deliberating and weighing what she can and cannot do realistically.
"Sophia had never seen a drunk person before" - Having been screened from being around drunk people or people drinking is something an experience that it is not at all unlikely your Muslim students share. Islam of course prohibits drinking. It is lesser known and understood that Islam also prohibits socializing with people who are drinking or sitting at a table where alcohol is present. For many Muslims the first time they witness people drunk it is an experience that strikes at their sensitivities.
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