Harriet Beecher Stowe 's Uncle Tom 's Cabin

Decent Essays

In varying societies, there’s a tendency to preassign a work or cap on achievement to different kinds of people. The following selections all feature societies in which certain people are stunted in their pursuits for no more reason than their biological identities. Middlemarch by George Eliot (1994) is a novel based off 18th century England provincial life. Dorothea is Eliot’s main character--a woman who spends most of the novel frustrated with a glass ceiling of education that’s been set lower for women than men. There’s also mention of people from the working class with scarce other options for earning income and drastically poor living conditions in comparison to the central characters. (This is only a matter of biological identity …show more content…

In Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Uncle Tom’s story line is that of a devout, obedient, Christian slave (Stowe, 2010). His first owner Mr. Shelby describes him as “an uncommon fellow...steady, honest, capable...” (Stowe, 2010, p. 2). Mr. Shelby sells him to a slave trader named Haley who takes him further south, but Tom’s disposition and conviction stays with him until his death. Mrs. Shelby wishes her husband hadn’t agreed to sell Tom and scolds him for it. In response Mr. Shelby says “...I don’t know why I am to be rated, as if I were a monster, for doing what everyone does every day” (Stowe, 2010, p. 29). Frederick Douglass (1852) heeds against siding with the majority, as Mr. Shelby did (Stowe, 2010), in cases concerning the oppressed in his fourth of July speech. He indirectly compares those against England’s oppression before it was socially and legally acceptable, to alienated or criminalized slavery abolitionists from his time when he said:
“...there was a time when to pronounce against England [racialized slavery], and in favor of the cause of the colonies [abolition of racialized slavery], tried men’s souls. They who did so were accounted in their day, plotters of mischief, agitators and rebels, dangerous men [a threat to the economic benefits of slavery]. To side with the right, against the wrong, with the weak against the strong , and with the oppressed [black slaves] against the oppressor [majority of whites]!” (Douglass, 1852)

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