Uncle Tom’s Cabin is an 19th century novel written by Harriet Beecher Stowe that is basically a canon of masterpieces that depict the cruelties of slavery throughout this time period. Stowe uses her novel to spread her opinions of slavery throughout the United States at this time while using typology to tie the whole problem of slavery into Christianity. Uncle Tom’s Cabin shows that a person’s attitude toward religion intertwines with attitude towards slavery. The story follows the characters of Uncle Tom, Eliza, Eva, the St. Clare’s, and
Through Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe communicates to readers that slavery is morally corrupt, by showing the wrong in slave owner's actions, the struggles and heartaches slaves were put through, and how faith and religion ultimately contradicted all that slavery encompassed.
Following the Civil War, America was in shambles. There were many groups with strong, conflicting ideas of how things should be. However, most groups had one idea in common: reducing the rights of African Americans as much as possible. Freed slaves had very little freedom under the law, were treated like a lesser species by those around them, and faced dangerous environments everywhere they went. Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation may have legally freed slaves, but African Americans were barely more than paid slaves.
The anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe was written at a time when slavery was a largely common practice among Americans. It not only helped lay the foundation for the Civil War but also contained many themes that publicized the evil of slavery to all people. The book contains themes such as the moral power of women, human right, and many more. The most important theme Stowe attempts to portray to readers is the incompatibility of slavery and Christianity. She makes it very clear that she does not believe slavery and Christianity can coexist and that slavery is against all Christian morals. She believes no Christian should allow the existence or practice of slavery.
Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.” upon meeting Harriet Beecher Stowe for the first time. The book that the former president is referring to is Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a 1850s book about the moral wrongs of slavery. It has been said to be the most influential anti-slavery book that has ever been written. Harriet Beecher Stowe is an effective author. She uses numerous literary devices such as facile characters, character foils, and symbolism to highlight her abolitionist views and constructs a persuasive argument against slavery.
Stowe first learned of the horrors of slavery when she moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. Kentucky, a slave state, was right next to Cincinnati. She married and lived there for 18 years. All the while, she stored images and thoughts in her mind about slavery. Many times, she would talk to slaves and retain their memories and thoughts.
When Harriet Beecher Stowe published her book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, in 1852, the Southerners reacted by defending their way of life. They claimed that Stowe was exaggerating, and that the way they were portrayed in the book was false. “Didn’t I pay down twelve hundred dollars, cash, for all there is inside yer old cussed blackshell? An’t yer mine now body and soul?... we’ll see-we’ll see!... give this dog such a breakin’ in as he won’t get over this month!” (Doc C). Over 300,000 copies were sold in the first year of circulation, proving to be the most popular book in the 19th century. Abraham Lincoln greeted Stowe, the first time they met in 1862, by saying there is “the little women who wrote the book that made this great war.” Uncle Tom’s Cabin unveiled all the details that the South tried to cover up, and just added fuel to the abolitionist’s claims and protest.
Stowe spoke out for the slaves in several of her writings. She believed the sin of slavery to be the denial of humanity to man. As such, the argument in one of her novels began: "if the Negro is a man, what possible excuse can there be for denying him liberty and equality?" (Adams 67). Also, in Biographical Sketch of The
Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin may never be seen as a great literary work, because of its didactic nature, but it will always be known as great literature because of the reflection of the past and the impact on the present. Harriet Beecher Stowe seemed destined to write great protest novels like Uncle Tom’s Cabin: her father was Lyman Beecher, a prominent evangelical preacher, and her siblings were preachers and social reformers. Born in 1811 in Litchfeild, Connecticut, Stowe moved with her family at the age of twenty-one to Cincinnati. During the eighteen years she lived there she was exposed to slavery. Although her only personal contact with the south was a brief trip to
Harriet Beecher Stowe published a novel called “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” in the year 1857. Selling over 300,000 copies in one year, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” had made an enormous impact on the people who read it. According to the textbook, “Much of its emotional impact came from its portrayal of slavery as a threat to the family and the Cult
Stowe presents slavery in the only way she knows how, by using the facts. Several sources of other works in American literature contrast on to how Stowe presents slavery in her novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin." The elements of slavery are driven through the reflections of theme, characterization, and setting to show that the way slavery is presented is not contradicting.
Published in the early 1850’s, Uncle Tom’s Cabin had a huge impact on our nation and contributed to the tension over slavery. It was written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, a woman who was involved in religious and feminist causes. Stowe’s influence on the northern states was remarkable. Her fictional novel about slave life of her current time has been thought to be one of the main things that led up to the Civil War. The purpose of writing it, as is often said, was to expose the evils of slavery to the North where many were unaware of just what went on in the rest of the country. The book was remarkably successful and sold 300,000 copies by the end of its first year. It is even rumored that
As previously mentioned, Stowe composed Uncle Tom’s Cabin to express the various views of slavery, and how it impacted the lives of those affected by this lifestyle. Growing up in this century, Stowe found the institution of slavery to be corrupt, with “the country requiring her complicity in a system she thought was unjust and immoral” (Uncle Tom’s Cabin). As Stowe did not believe in the Fugitive Slave Law—which required everyone to aid in the capture of fugitive slaves—she chose to hide runaway slaves, and her family promoted her drive to aid those in need. Stowe accomplished this feat through housing, feeding, and smuggling slaves to legal freedom in Canada, because it was the Christian thing to do.
While Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin overtly deals with the wrongs of slavery from a Christian standpoint, there is a subtle yet strong emphasis on the moral and physical strength of women. Eliza, Eva, Aunt Chloe, and Mrs. Shelby all exhibit remarkable power and understanding of good over evil in ways that most of the male characters in Stowe’s novel. Even Mrs. St. Claire, who is ill throughout most of the book, proves later that she was always physically in control of her actions, however immoral they were. This emotional strength, when compared with the strength of the male characters, shows a belief in women as equals to men (if not more so) uncommon to 19th century literature.
Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin was a novel written in times of unrest where slavery was a controversial topic and women 's rights were still suffering. Uncle Tom’s Cabin showed the grim reality of slavery and showed the importance for women to gain a societal role beyond the domestic domain. The reading contains a number of major characters throughout the novel. The two most notable characters we will discuss is Mrs. Shelby and Marie St. Clare. Throughout this paper we will compare and contrast these two characters and give specific examples to illustrate the similarities and differences between these two unique individuals.