Uncle Tom’s CabinUncle Tom manages the Shelby plantation. Strong, intelligent, capable, good, andkind, he is the most heroic figure in the novel that bears his name. Tom’s mostimportant characteristic is his Christian faith. God has given Tom anextraordinary ability.
He can forgive the evil done to him. His self-sacrificinglove for others has been called motherly. It has also been called trulyChristian. AUNT CHLOE- Aunt Chloe, Uncle Tom’s wife, is fat, warm, and jolly. She is a good housekeeper and a superb cook, and justly proud of her skill. Sheloves Tom, and urges him to escape to Canada rather than to go South with Haley.
After Tom is sold, she convinces the Shelbys to hire her out to a baker inLouisville and to use her wages to buy Tom’s freedom. She is heartbroken tolearn of his death. – MOSE, PETE, AND POLLY – Mose, Pete, and Polly, thechildren of Uncle Tom and Aunt Chloe, are playful and rambunctious. Polly isTom’s special favorite, and she loves to bury her tiny hands in his hair. ELIZAHARRIS – Eliza Harris is raised by her mistress, Mrs. Shelby, to be pious andgood.
Described as light-skinned and pretty, Eliza dearly loves her husband,George Harris, and their little boy, Harry. When she learns that Harry is aboutto be sold, Eliza carries him in her arms to the Ohio River, which she crosseson cakes of ice. Although generally a modest and retiring young woman, Elizabecomes extraordinarily brave because of her love for her son. GEORGE HARRIS-George Harris, portrayed as a light-skinned and intelligent slave, belongs to aman named Harris.
He is married to Eliza, who lives on the Shelby plantation,and they have a son, Harry. HARRY AND LITTLE ELIZA – Harry and little Eliza arethe children of George and Eliza Harris. Harry, born a slave on the ShelbyPlantation, is bright and cute, and sings and dances for Mr. Shelby and Haley. He is so beautiful that he is disguised as a girl in order to escape intoCanada. Once there, he does very well in school.
Little Eliza is born free inCanada. – SAM AND ANDY- Sam and Andy, slaves on the Shelby plantation, providecomic relief through their mispronunciations and deliberate mishaps. Andy, wholikes to makes speeches, is meant to satirize politicians. But Sam and Andy makean important contribution to the novel’s plot- their clowning allows Eliza toescape across the Ohio River. MR.
SHELBY – Mr. Shelby, the owner of a Kentuckyplantation, generally treats his slaves well, but he decides to sell two ofthem, Uncle Tom and little Harry, to pay off a debt. Although he regrets thesale, Shelby feels he has no other choice. MRS. SHELBY – Mrs.
Shelby, a kind,religious woman, tries to raise the family’s slaves with Christian values. Sheattempts to convince her husband not to sell Tom and Harry, and she helps Elizaescape. Warm-hearted Mrs. Shelby treats her slaves like people, crying with AuntChloe when Uncle Tom leaves and consoling her when they learn he is dead.
-GEORGE SHELBY- George Shelby, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Shelby, is thirteen yearsold when the novel begins, and eighteen when it ends. He likes to spend timewith Uncle Tom and Aunt Chloe, basking in their kindness and attention.
Heteaches Uncle Tom to read and write, and reads the Bible at the slaves’religious meeting. On Uncle Tom’s grave, he swears to do whatever he can tofight against slavery, and he begins by freeing the slaves on his ownplantation. George is one of the few characters who changes during the course ofUncle Tom’s Cabin, as he develops from a good-hearted but somewhat self-centeredboy into a noble and effective man. HALEY-Haley sets the plot of Uncle Tom’sCabin in motion by insisting that Mr. Shelby sell him Tom and little Harry. Haley curses, smokes, drinks, and dresses badly.
He claims to be humane becausehe is not completely cruel to the slaves he buys. But you can see that he’s anasty person. He doesn’t believe slaves have feelings, so he doesn’t think twiceabout separating a mother and child- like Eliza and little Harry, or about thewoman who jumps off the steamboat on the Ohio River after he sells her baby. Haley can’t understand why these things keep happening to him.
TOM LOKER, ANDMARKS- Tom Loker and Marks are crude fellows, who make their living catchingescaped slaves. You often see them in taverns. Tom Loker is shot by GeorgeHarris, but the Harrises and the Quakers forgive him, and he is nursed back tohealth in the Quaker settlement. He gives the Quakers the information that helpsGeorge and Eliza disguise themselves so they can elude Marks at the Sanduskyferry. – MR. AND MRS.
BIRD- Mr. and Mrs. Bird live in Ohio with their threechildren. Tiny Mrs. Bird is a wonderful housekeeper and mother. Mr.
Bird, asenator, has just voted for the Fugitive Slave Law. Mrs. Bird tries to convincehim that he is wrong, and that one must allow the heart to guide the head. Theappearance of Eliza on their doorstep makes him realize that he isn’t capable ofturning in a fugitive. One of the Birds’ children has recently died, and theirloss makes them more sympathetic to Eliza.
RACHEL HALLIDAY, SIMEON HALLIDAY,RUTH STEDMAN, DORCAS, AND PHINEAS FLETCHER- These Quakers practice theirreligious beliefs in their daily lives. They risk fines by helping escapedslaves. Rachel Halliday and Ruth Stedman are motherly and sympathetic; Simeonand Phineas are quietly brave. They take good care of George and Eliza and makeit possible for them to escape to Canada. Dorcas nurses Tom Loker back to healthafter George Harris shoots him. She doesn’t quite convert him to her beliefs,but she does get him to give up slave-catching.
AUGUSTINE ST. CLARE – AugustineSt. Clare, Tom’s second master, is handsome, worldly, and charming. He indulgeshis slaves in his elegant New Orleans house and debates the issue of slaverywith his cousin from Vermont. Most of all, St.
Clare hates hypocrisy. Believingthat slavery is wrong, he left the plantation he inherited with his twin brotherbecause he didn’t really want to be a slavemaster. St. Clare thinks black peoplewill eventually gain their freedom, but he isn’t sure how it will come about. Inthe meantime, he rails with equal fervor against Southern ministers who claimslavery is supported by the Bible, and Northerners who criticize slavery butwon’t let black children into their schools.
EVANGELINE ST. CLARE – EvangelineSt. Clare is a beautiful child, spiritually as well as physically. She is filledwith goodness and love. Her kindness to those around her, especially the slaves,brightens their lives, and leads some of them to embrace the Christianity she soinstinctively radiates.
Eva is responsible for St. Clare’s purchase of UncleTom, and Tom becomes her special friend. The two spend hours poring over theBible and discussing religion. The black slave and the little blonde girl arekindred spirits.
But Eva- whose name suggests the Evangelist- becomes ill anddies. On her deathbed, she distributes locks of her hair and loving wishes toeveryone around her. MARIE ST. CLARE- Marie St. Clare is a beautiful but spoiledwoman who ignores everyone’s feelings but her own and takes advantage of herservants.
A hypochondriac, constantly claiming to have headaches, she cannotunderstand either her husband or their daughter. She doesn’t pay much attentionto either of them, except to complain. Because Marie can’t act for anyone butherself, she fails to prevent Uncle Tom’s sale to Simon Legree. OPHELIA- OpheliaSt. Clare comes from Vermont to manage her cousin Augustine’s New Orleanshousehold. Her thrifty New England ways contrast with the easy-going St.
Clarestyle. One of Ophelia’s functions in the novel is to contrast the North and theSouth. An abolitionist, Ophelia finds slavery “perfectly horrible,”and she rails against it in her running debate with Augustine. ALFRED ANDHENRIQUE ST. CLARE- Alfred St.
Clare, Augustine’s dark, forceful twin brother,is a stern but decent slaveowner. The contrast between the twins contrasts theirtwo approaches to slavery. Similarly, dark, handsome, proud, and angry Henrique,Alfred’s son, contrasts with his blonde, loving cousin Eva. Henrique is cruel tohis slave, Dodo, but Eva reaches him with her love.
TOPSY- Ignorant butenergetic, Topsy is brought by Augustine into the St. Clare household to seewhether the high-principled Ophelia is actually capable of managing a slave. Topsy, who can’t tell the difference between right and wrong. ADOLPHE, ROSA,JANE, DINAH, AND MAMMY- The well-treated slaves in the St. Clare household seemto be divided into two groups. Some, such as Adolphe, Rosa, and Jane, arelight-skinned servants who borrow the St.
Clare family’s airs as well as much ofits wardrobe. Others, such as Dinah the cook, and Mammy, are dark-skinnedhardworking, and realistic. PRUE-A worn-out, hard-drinking woman, Prue is beatento death by her owners. Tom discovers the cause of her misery- like so manyother slave women, she has lost her children to the slave-trader. – SIMON LEGREE-Simon Legree is the owner of a plantation on the Red River in Louisiana.
Sadistic and cruel, he breaks his slaves in body and soul and works them todeath. Legree has no real human ties. He has sexual relations with slave womenwhom he buys for that purpose, and his main companions are the barbaric Samboand Quimbo. Legree is interested in growing as much cotton as he can, as his betwith several other plantation owners indicates, but he also seems to enjoyabusing his slaves, particularly Uncle Tom. CASSY- Cassy, the daughter of awealthy white man and a slave woman, is sheltered and convent-educated. Thedeath of her father results in her sale to a man who becomes her lover, and whomshe adores.
But after some years, he sells her and her children to pay agambling debt. Cassy is driven half-mad by the loss of her son and daughter, andsearches in vain for them. She is owned by a series of masters. By one of themshe has a son, whom she kills with an overdose of opium rather than face thepain of losing another child to slavery. SUSAN, EMMELINE, AND LUCY- Susan,Emmeline, and Lucy are sold in the New Orleans slave market with Uncle Tom andthe rest of the St. Clare family slaves.
Susan and Emmeline, a religious motherand daughter, are heartbroken when they are separated and sold. Legree buysEmmeline to be his mistress, but she resists him. Emmeline marries a crew memberon the ship that carries the Harris family, Madame de Thoux, and Cassy toFrance. Lucy is purchased by Legree as a mistress for his second-in-command,Sambo, although she had a husband and children in New Orleans. Lucy finds itdifficult to work in the fields, and Tom helps her by secretly putting cottoninto her bag so that she will be able to turn in the required amount of cottoneach day. SAMBO AND QUIMBO-Sambo and Quimbo are Simon Legree’s blacklieutenants.
Brutal and ignorant, they lord it over the other slaves. Legreemanipulates them so that they fight with each other too. Both Sambo and Quimbowhip and otherwise abuse Tom, but they are converted by him in the end.