Uncle Toms Cabin (1360 words) Essay

Uncle Tom’s CabinUncle Tom’s Cabin
Harriet Beecher Stowe was born June 14,
1811 in Litchfield, Connecticut. She was the daughter of a Calvinist minister
and she and her family was all devout Christians, her father being a preacher
and her siblings following. Her Christian attitude much reflected her attitude
towards slavery. She was for abolishing it, because it was, to her, a very
unchristian and cruel institution. Her novel, therefore, focused on the
ghastly points of slavery, including the whippings, beatings, and forced
sexual encounters brought upon slaves by their masters. She wrote the book
to be a force against slavery, and was joining in with the feelings of
many other women of her time, whom all became more outspoken and influential
in reform movements, including temperance and women’s suffrage. The main
point of Harriet Beecher Stowe in the writing of Uncle Tom’s Cabin was
to bring to light slavery to people in the north. In this she hoped to
eventually sway people against slavery.

The novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin focuses on
the lives of two slaves, who both start under the ownership of a Mr. Shelby,
who is known as a man who treats his slaves well. Mr. Shelby, however,
was indebted to a man of the name Haley, who is a slave-trader. In return
for the debt owed to him, Haley wants two slaves one being the son of a
beautiful mulatto woman named Eliza, and the other the devout Christian
Tom, who is called Father Tom because of his sermons. Eliza is also a Christian,
as are the rest of the slaves on Shelby’s farm. Eliza loves her son dearly
and rather than lose him to the slave-trader she takes him and heads to
Canada, where she can be free. Haley follows but can’t catch her before
she goes from Kentucky, the state of the Shelby Farm, to Ohio. Haley then
sends slave-catchers after her. He also goes back to the farm, and brings
Tom on a steamboat to the South, a place where slaves are known to die,
but Tom meets and makes a great impression on a little girl, Evangeline
St. Clare, or Eva as she is called, and she persuades her father, Augustine
St. Clare to purchase Tom. Augustine is a man against slavery, but too
intelligent and idle to openly oppose it, instead choosing to let his slaves
run freely and do whatsoever they please, within reason. Tom is bought
as a man who works at the stable, and is the private driver of Marie St.

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Clare. Marie was a conceited woman who is too busy worrying about herself
to take proper care of Eva, which results in Augustine bringing his cousin,
Ophelia, to take care of her and was the reason for his and Eva’s traveling
on the steamboat where Tom meets them. Meanwhile, Eliza is taken to a Quaker
settlement on the border of the slave states where she meets up with George,
her husband, who is a highly intelligent slave. He escaped to the Quaker
settlement by dressing as a white man, which he isn’t very far away from
because of his mulatto descendance. He then uses another slave to act as
his slave and makes it to the settlement after hearing Eliza, his wife,
is there. They are soon told that men are after them, so they flee, have
a confrontation in which one of the Quaker men pushes a slave-catcher into
a ravine. The catcher is then taken to a Quaker home to be tended to where
he heals and decides to no longer be a slave-catcher. They then, dressing
as two men and their daughter, as opposed to husband, wife, and son, ride
a ferry to Canada. Tom, on the other hand, is enjoying himself at St. Clare’s,
where he is having an easy life, until Eva becomes sick, and dies. St.

Clare is deeply affected by this, and begins to think about his own mortality,
and the rights and wrongs of slavery. After much reflection he decides
to initiate the freeing of Tom, whose wife, back in Kentucky, is trying
to earn enough money to buy him back by being a confectioner. Tom is overjoyed
when hearing the news of his freedom, but St. Clare dies before he can
finish the proceedings, and Tom was sold at an auction before the Shelby’s
can be reached, for they would have surely came and bought him back. Tom
is sold to a man named Legree, the character of the average hard slaveholder,
dirty, mean and ugly. Tom is then beaten to death before George Shelby
could come and buy him back. Tom didn’t die scared because he was being
beaten for not confessing the hiding place of two female slaves, and knew
he was going to heaven. One of these females and another woman that the
two meet on the way to Canada are relatives of George and Eliza and meet
with them. They all eventually move to Liberia, a state created in Africa
which was created for free blacks. Uncle Tom’s cabin comes to represent
the beauty and humanity of slaves, and Tom’s legacy of Christian faith
and obedience.

Stowe did a great job with this book. What
is believed to be one of the influential books of all time, ranking with
the works of Adam Smith and Machiavelli, Uncle Tom’s Cabin became an abolitionist’s
bible. During its time it was revised, dramatized, and published often.

The effect of her book on the north and everywhere in the US was unforeseen.

The book was popular and caused abolitionism to run wild among northerners.

The south hated the book because of its portrayal of its (The South’s)
“peculiar institution”. It might have been influential enough to be considered
one of the causes of the civil war, by creating a greater number of northerners
against slavery. It displayed to the north all the evils of slavery, by
creating human characters out of slaves, who were thought to be inhuman.

Stowe’s ideas were that slavery is wrong, which is a correct assumption.

A human should not be owned because we are not animals, plants, or minerals.

Humans have souls and should and can not be owned by other r humans, because
they are all created equal. Stowe’s style of staggering chapters about
Tom with chapters about Eliza was effective by showing hope in two different
situations. Eliza hoped for freedom while Tom hoped for eternity. Stowe
plays these two motivations of her characters off each other to project
the point of the book to the intelligent. She emphasizes her main points
throughout the whole book, perhaps too much, but she was right in doing
this, too make sure no one missed the point. She is biased against slaves,
oddly enough. She portrays the whiter ones as more intelligent and clever,
as is seen with George and Eliza, and the darker ones as more slow-witted,
for example, Tom. Stowe also did what any intelligent reader from the beginning
of the book expects of her. She creates a chapter at the end reinforcing
the story in the book with historical facts, meaning that it’s based loosely
on the real world. She seems to do her research well for the story, and
her perspective was rather open, backing up slaveholders as well as abolitionists
by expressing the slaveholders feelings of hopelessness towards going against
society, seen in St. Clare. She made the slaves more human and the slaveholders
appear to be morally wrong, but not by always using morally correct slaves
and masters without morals. For example, Stowe creates a character, Adolf,
the overseer of sorts for St. Clare. Adolf is a slave who is not morally
correct he steals from St. Clare often, yet he appears more human for doing
so. The slaves or human but not divine, as are the masters, creating a
sense of equality, which Stowe wanted to put across. She wrote the book
well, choosing where it was best to put which idea, and making many allusions
to historical events around the time, which made her book more popular
to the people of her time by involving other things they knew of into the

Overall, Uncle Tom’s Cabin was well written,
organized, and historically accurate. Harriet Beecher Stowe used her knowledge
of the past to write a clear argument for the abolition of slavery, by
creating an interesting enough book to get her ideas to the common people.

Her book was influential because it not only told her ideas, but because
it states her ideas understandably, something not all writers are able
to do.


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