Essay about Uncle Tom's Cabin and the Grief of Harriet Beecher Stowe

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Overcoming the death of a loved one can be one of life's most difficult tasks, especially when that loss involves a parent or a child. Author and abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe grieved over death as both mother and child. When she was only five years old, her mother Roxana Foote Beecher, died of tuberculosis. Later at age 38, she lost her infant son Charley to an outbreak of cholera. Together these two traumatic events amplified her condemnation of slavery and ultimately influenced the writing of one of America's most controversial novels, Uncle Tom's Cabin. On June 14, 1811 Harriet Beecher Stowe became the seventh child born into the religiously devout family of Lyman and Roxana Beecher. Lyman Beecher was a…show more content…
in Wagenknecht 21). Harriet also felt a powerful reverence for her mother: "She was of a temperament peculiarly restful and peace-giving... Her union of spirit with God, unruffled and unbroken even from early childhood seemed to impart to her an equilibrium and healthful placidity that no earthly reverses ever disturbed" (qtd. in Wagenknecht 23). Harriet also believed that her mother's "memory and example had more influence in molding her family, in deterring from evil and exciting to good, than the living presence of many mothers" (qtd. in Hedrick, "Perfection"). Those who read Uncle Tom's Cabin will find the death of Stowe's mother memorialized in the death of Eva St. Clare. Stowe claimed that the pain she felt as a child from losing her own mother helped her identify with the pain felt by African-American children and mothers sold apart under slavery. Stowe later revealed the intense connection she possessed for the character of little Eva. She said that writing about Eva's death "affected [her] so deeply that [she] could not write another word for two weeks... (qtd. in Wagenknecht 165). In 1832, Harriet's father moved the family to the frontier city of Cincinnati, where he became the president of Lane Seminary. The school was well known for its progressive attitudes and before long it evolved into a center for abolitionists. One of the free thinkers employed there was Calvin

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