Serfdom And Slavery: A Comparative Analysis

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Register to read the introduction…In contrast, the Russian serfdom has been disregarded in film, literature and public discourse. This may be associated with a separation of the two concepts on a base of the cultural differences in the development of the two types of oppression and most importantly the different races of the oppressed population. Despite the fact that the area of comparison between Russian serfdom and American slavery is understudied a number of investigations reveal the crucial similarities in the patterns in development of the two systems. In one of such studies Hine (378-384) demonstrates the parallels between serfdom in Russia and slavery in America, which include common features in the treatment and position of slaves and serves. This paper will apply this parallels as the comparison criteria for the two fiction texts that depict one type of oppression each: Harriet Beecher Stowe 's Uncle Tom 's Cabin and Aleksander Radishchev 's Journey From Petersburg to Moscow. Through the comparison of the two texts the essay will argue that serfdom can be regarded as a form of slavery because despite the difference in the scale and race, oppression that existed in Russia and America was…show more content…
According to Hine (379-380) slave trade existed in both societies, where slaves could be traded through newspapers. The depiction of this practise, which often involved tragedy, as on the slave markets families were separated and all types of friendly and romantic relationships broken, may be found present in both texts. In the Radishchev 's novel the narrator contemplates an auction of serfs in the Mednoe village: "As soon as the terrible hammer emitted its dull sound the four unfortunates learned their fate, - tears, sob, moans have pierced the ears of the gathered" (Радищев 512). The slave market described by George to Mr. Wilson, the factory owner resembles its russian prototype, because here also the sorrow of family separation may be contemplated: "I saw my mother at sheriff 's sale, with her seven children. They were sold before her eyes, one by one, all to different masters" (Stowe 126). Both types of sales, although performed in different cultures, do not take into account family ties and once more demonstrate the inhuman treatment that slaves and serfs…show more content…
Common features in the treatment of slaves and serfs as well as their identical status in the society is traced in the novels and demonstrates that the institution of serfdom may be considered as a form of slavery. Nevertheless, attitude towards slaves and serves in the two nations was different, which may be learned from the existence of anti-slavery movement in one country and lack of such in another. The origins and causes of such diverse attitude may serve as a suggestion for the further
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