Analysis Of The Novel ' Uncle Tom 's Cabin '

Better Essays
Catlin Hetrick

Literature and Culture

In Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Stowe not only tackles the structure of slavery itself, but depicts “femininity” through the development and representation of good, Christian values. Stowe designates the role of mother and homemaker to said females present in the novel, both living and dead. Frequent establishment of the portrayal of the female figure furthers Stowe’s pro-domesticity stance and the woman’s ability to indirectly undermine the structure of slavery. These descriptions serve as testaments to solidify the notion that Stowe’s end goal, getting people to “feel right,” is dependent upon the potential of the Christian mother figure. While the shortcomings of the mother/child relationships in the
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and Mrs. Byrd, for example. These female/male comparisons illustrate Stowe’s faith in the maternal role and the power that women possess.

To elucidate the aforementioned ability of the maternal figure it must be known that the ideal nature of this influence is an indirect one. Rather than direct action from the women, Stowe emphasizes the ability of women to exert a positive moral influence over the men around her. Moral guidance from the women, then, may serve to subtly sway the actions of men, who can transform societal structure. An example of said notion in action is found in the aforementioned Mrs. Byrd berating her husband for his support of the Fugitive Slave Act. “Now, John, I don 't know anything about politics, but I can read my Bible; and there I see that I must feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort the desolate; and that Bible I mean to follow."

These female characters offer transition to the Quaker family, specifically Rachel Halliday. “..Hers was one of those faces that time seems to touch only to brighten and adorn. The snowy fisse crape cap, made after the strait Quaker pattern, – the plain white muslin handkerchief, lying in placid folds across her bosom, – the drab shawl and dress, – showed at once the community to which she
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