Uncle Tom’s CabinUncle Tom’s CabinHarriet Beecher Stowe was born June 14,1811 in Litchfield, Connecticut. She was the daughter of a Calvinist ministerand she and her family was all devout Christians, her father being a preacherand her siblings following. Her Christian attitude much reflected her attitudetowards slavery. She was for abolishing it, because it was, to her, a veryunchristian and cruel institution.
Her novel, therefore, focused on theghastly points of slavery, including the whippings, beatings, and forcedsexual encounters brought upon slaves by their masters. She wrote the bookto be a force against slavery, and was joining in with the feelings ofmany other women of her time, whom all became more outspoken and influentialin reform movements, including temperance and women’s suffrage. The mainpoint of Harriet Beecher Stowe in the writing of Uncle Tom’s Cabin wasto bring to light slavery to people in the north. In this she hoped toeventually sway people against slavery.
The novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin focuses onthe 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 returnfor the debt owed to him, Haley wants two slaves one being the son of abeautiful mulatto woman named Eliza, and the other the devout ChristianTom, 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 dearlyand rather than lose him to the slave-trader she takes him and heads toCanada, where she can be free. Haley follows but can’t catch her beforeshe goes from Kentucky, the state of the Shelby Farm, to Ohio. Haley thensends slave-catchers after her.
He also goes back to the farm, and bringsTom 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, EvangelineSt. Clare, or Eva as she is called, and she persuades her father, AugustineSt. Clare to purchase Tom. Augustine is a man against slavery, but toointelligent and idle to openly oppose it, instead choosing to let his slavesrun freely and do whatsoever they please, within reason. Tom is boughtas a man who works at the stable, and is the private driver of Marie St. Clare.
Marie was a conceited woman who is too busy worrying about herselfto 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 travelingon the steamboat where Tom meets them. Meanwhile, Eliza is taken to a Quakersettlement 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 Quakersettlement by dressing as a white man, which he isn’t very far away frombecause of his mulatto descendance. He then uses another slave to act ashis 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, havea confrontation in which one of the Quaker men pushes a slave-catcher intoa ravine. The catcher is then taken to a Quaker home to be tended to wherehe heals and decides to no longer be a slave-catcher. They then, dressingas two men and their daughter, as opposed to husband, wife, and son, ridea 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 decidesto initiate the freeing of Tom, whose wife, back in Kentucky, is tryingto earn enough money to buy him back by being a confectioner. Tom is overjoyedwhen hearing the news of his freedom, but St.
Clare dies before he canfinish the proceedings, and Tom was sold at an auction before the Shelby’scan be reached, for they would have surely came and bought him back. Tomis 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 Shelbycould come and buy him back. Tom didn’t die scared because he was beingbeaten for not confessing the hiding place of two female slaves, and knewhe was going to heaven. One of these females and another woman that thetwo meet on the way to Canada are relatives of George and Eliza and meetwith them.
They all eventually move to Liberia, a state created in Africawhich was created for free blacks. Uncle Tom’s cabin comes to representthe beauty and humanity of slaves, and Tom’s legacy of Christian faithand obedience. Stowe did a great job with this book. Whatis believed to be one of the influential books of all time, ranking withthe works of Adam Smith and Machiavelli, Uncle Tom’s Cabin became an abolitionist’sbible. 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 consideredone of the causes of the civil war, by creating a greater number of northernersagainst slavery. It displayed to the north all the evils of slavery, bycreating 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, becausethey are all created equal. Stowe’s style of staggering chapters aboutTom with chapters about Eliza was effective by showing hope in two differentsituations. Eliza hoped for freedom while Tom hoped for eternity.
Stoweplays these two motivations of her characters off each other to projectthe point of the book to the intelligent. She emphasizes her main pointsthroughout the whole book, perhaps too much, but she was right in doingthis, 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 beginningof the book expects of her. She creates a chapter at the end reinforcingthe story in the book with historical facts, meaning that it’s based looselyon the real world. She seems to do her research well for the story, andher perspective was rather open, backing up slaveholders as well as abolitionistsby expressing the slaveholders feelings of hopelessness towards going againstsociety, seen in St. Clare. She made the slaves more human and the slaveholdersappear to be morally wrong, but not by always using morally correct slavesand masters without morals. For example, Stowe creates a character, Adolf,the overseer of sorts for St.
Clare. Adolf is a slave who is not morallycorrect he steals from St. Clare often, yet he appears more human for doingso. The slaves or human but not divine, as are the masters, creating asense of equality, which Stowe wanted to put across.
She wrote the bookwell, choosing where it was best to put which idea, and making many allusionsto historical events around the time, which made her book more popularto the people of her time by involving other things they knew of into thestory. Overall, Uncle Tom’s Cabin was well written,organized, and historically accurate. Harriet Beecher Stowe used her knowledgeof the past to write a clear argument for the abolition of slavery, bycreating an interesting enough book to get her ideas to the common people. Her book was influential because it not only told her ideas, but becauseit states her ideas understandably, something not all writers are ableto do.