This paper is a review of the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It’s a classic, work of fiction written by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Stowe (1811-1896) is best known today as the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which helped galvanize the abolitionist cause. The passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, which deeply distressed Harriet, was a factor in inspiring her to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin. This Act made it a crime for citizens of free states to give aid to runaway enslaved people.
1 It is to be noted that in reality she observed many of the incidents that that are depicted in the book, and some of the incidents are observations of her friends. The story of “old Prue,” was an incident that fell under the personal observation of a brother of the writer, then collecting-clerk to a large mercantile house, in New Orleans. 2 Essentially the theme of the book is about the institution of slavery prevalent in America during the nineteenth century. Stowe portrayed the physical and mental abuse of the slaves in the south.
There are other smaller but relevant themes interwoven within the main theme, such as Christianity and of relationships. The subject of slavery dominates in practically all the chapters of the book. For example, “What country have I, or any one like me, born of slave mothers? What laws are there for us? We don’t make them,–we don’t consent to them,–we have nothing to 1. “Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Life and Time”. The Harriet Beecher Stowen House and Library . Jul. 2005. 21 May. 2007. <http://www. harrietbeecherstowecenter. org/life/> 2. Stowe, Harriet Beecher.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin. New York: Penguin Books, 1986. 618. Michael Eshom History 170 Tuesdays: 7pm-9:50pm do with them; all they do for us is to crush us, and keep us down. ”3 The book also explores the nature of Christianity in context with slavery. Slavery in America during those days was prevalent in the South. The main setting of the book is in the South, where we get many shades of life in Kentucky, Louisiana. There is even mention of the Northern States, Canada and Africa. Let’s have a glimpse of some of relevant characters in the book in my perspective.
Beginning with the central character in the book Uncle Tom. He is a truly devoted and pious Christian. He is a tolerant, loving and a loyal slave. He was uneducated and ignorant of the nature of things around him. To him, the slave trade looked like something unutterably horrible and cruel because poor, ignorant black soul, he had not learned to generalize, and to take enlarged views. 4 Uncle Tom was a confident man and always stood up for his beliefs. He forgives easily not holding a grudge against anyone. He truly believes in the goodness of humanity. Mr.
Arthur Shelby was Tom’s master and a well liked man, however circumstances force him to sell two of his slaves, namely Tom and Eliza’s son – Harry. Mrs. Emily Shelby, was a devout religious Christian who had strong opinions and influenced her husband however 3. Stowe, 185. 4. Stowe, 209. Michael Eshom History 170 Tuesdays: 7pm-9:50pm she could not get him to save Tom or Harry. She was told to keep out of this situation since women had no mind in business. However she promises Tom, “And sure as I am a Christian woman,” said Mrs. Shelby, “you shall be redeemed as soon as I can any bring together means”.
5 Shelby’s son – George, was an enlightened person and he spent many a moment in Uncle Tom’s Cabin reading to Uncle Tom and Aunt Chloe. Eliza, a slave under Mrs. Shelby’s care escapes to the north along with her son, when she gets to know that her son has been sold to a slave trader. Though she loves her masters, her love and safety for her child supersedes that. ‘But stronger than all was maternal love, wrought into a paroxysm of frenzy by the near approach of a fearful danger. ’6 She puts herself in grave danger to keep her son safe.
Eliza’s husband George Harris is a strapping intelligent man. He is disillusioned with life and is quite tired of living as a slave under the tyranny of his master. Fed up of living under subjection he escapes in pursuit of freedom to Canada. Evangeline St. Clare, also known as Eva was the daughter of Augustine St. Clare. She was an angelic beautiful child of about five or six years. She was quite saintly like often making statements to the likes of , “I’ve felt that I would be glad to die, if my dying could stop all this misery. I would die for them, Tom, if I could. ”6
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