The Underground Railroad

Pdf fan
Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)
Sam is a station agent who owns a saloon in South Carolina. He helps to arrange Cora and Caesar’s new identities and placement in the dormitories. He is kind and dedicated to his work for the underground railroad, although he possesses a faith in the racial progressiveness of South Carolina that turns out to be fatally naïve. His house is burned to the ground, but Sam survives and comes to visit Cora in Indiana, where he attempts (and fails) to seduce Georgina.

Sam Quotes in The Underground Railroad

The The Underground Railroad quotes below are all either spoken by Sam or refer to Sam. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Family, Heritage, and Home Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Doubleday edition of The Underground Railroad published in 2016.
Chapter 8: Tennessee Quotes

At the auction block they tallied the souls purchased at each auction, and on the plantations the overseers preserved the names of workers in rows of tight cursive. Every name an asset, breathing capital, profit made flesh. The peculiar institution made Cora into a maker of lists as well. In her inventory of loss people were not reduced to sums but multiplied by their kindnesses. People she had loved, people who had helped her. The Hob women, Lovey, Martin and Ethel, Fletcher. The ones who disappeared: Caesar and Sam and Lumbly.

Related Characters: Cora (aka Bessie), Caesar, Lovey, Fletcher, Lumbly, Sam, Martin Wells, Ethel Wells (née Delany)
Related Symbols: Hob
Page Number: 215
Explanation and Analysis:

Cora has been captured by Ridgeway, and is now traveling alongside him and his associates, Homer and Boseman. The ride is long, giving Cora a lot of time to reflect. She thinks in lists, imagining an “inventory” of people she has met. This passage highlights the way in which slavery infects people’s minds, encouraging them to assign value to people as if they were objects. However, Cora distorts this way of thinking in a positive sense, turning it into a way of categorizing people’s kindness. During her time on the run, Cora has often been forced to say goodbye to people before she had a chance to develop a real friendship or fully express her gratitude for their assistance. However, she treasures their memories and honors the part they each played in attempting to transport her to freedom.

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Underground Railroad quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Get the entire The Underground Railroad LitChart as a printable PDF.
The underground railroad.pdf.medium

Sam Character Timeline in The Underground Railroad

The timeline below shows where the character Sam appears in The Underground Railroad. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4: South Carolina
Death and Freedom Theme Icon
Value, Ownership, and Commodification Theme Icon
History, Myth, and Fantasy Theme Icon
...as the car shook. When they arrived, they were greeted by a white man named Sam who brought them food and promised them that South Carolina had a more “enlightened attitude”... (full context)
Family, Heritage, and Home Theme Icon
Endurance vs. Rebellion Theme Icon
Death and Freedom Theme Icon
Value, Ownership, and Commodification Theme Icon
Brutality and Violation Theme Icon
History, Myth, and Fantasy Theme Icon
Cora asks Caesar about Sam, and Caesar mentions that there is a train leaving in a few days, which they... (full context)
Family, Heritage, and Home Theme Icon
Value, Ownership, and Commodification Theme Icon
History, Myth, and Fantasy Theme Icon
...the new hospital to “get better.” An hour before Cora goes to meet Caesar and Sam, she manages to get through an unlocked door to the roof of the Griffin Building.... (full context)
Family, Heritage, and Home Theme Icon
Endurance vs. Rebellion Theme Icon
Death and Freedom Theme Icon
Brutality and Violation Theme Icon
History, Myth, and Fantasy Theme Icon
Sam explains that one of his regular patrons at the saloon, Bertram, is a doctor who... (full context)
Endurance vs. Rebellion Theme Icon
Death and Freedom Theme Icon
Brutality and Violation Theme Icon
History, Myth, and Fantasy Theme Icon
...to talk to Caesar, but he is still at the factory. She manages to see Sam, who informs her that he’s been trying to tell them that Ridgeway is after them.... (full context)
Chapter 6: North Carolina
Family, Heritage, and Home Theme Icon
Endurance vs. Rebellion Theme Icon
Death and Freedom Theme Icon
Brutality and Violation Theme Icon
History, Myth, and Fantasy Theme Icon
...Martha. The narrative then returns to Cora, who believes it has been one day since Sam’s house collapsed, though she isn’t sure. She remains alone, trapped on the underground railroad platform.... (full context)
Chapter 10: Indiana
Endurance vs. Rebellion Theme Icon
Death and Freedom Theme Icon
Brutality and Violation Theme Icon
History, Myth, and Fantasy Theme Icon
In November, Sam arrives at Valentine, and his reunion with Cora is emotional. Sam tells Cora that Ridgeway... (full context)
Family, Heritage, and Home Theme Icon
Death and Freedom Theme Icon
Value, Ownership, and Commodification Theme Icon
History, Myth, and Fantasy Theme Icon
Sam stays on Valentine for three days, unsuccessfully trying to pursue Georgina. On the third night,... (full context)