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Uncle Tom’s Cabin Essay

Uncle Tom's Cabin Thesis Statements and Important Quotes

❶Clare, the women inadvertently perpetrate evil, as Mrs. While many contemporary readers identified him as a model of Christian virtue, modern readers have often viewed him as a symbol of African-American subordination to white authority.


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Yes, Stowe would agree that the masters were to blame for giving them nothing but difficult choices; but the moral choice for any action or inaction is made, she would say, by the person himself or herself. Slavery is evil because it attempts to reduce to objects people who cannot be so reduced. The slaves themselves, of course, are not the only people whom slavery attempts to reduce and whom it thereby injures. The most obvious example of a slave owner destroyed by the institution is Marie St.

Clare, whose narcissism is a result of her having been raised from infancy to believe that she is a superior kind of being. Marie's sadism is a natural result of her condition, as is her unhappiness: According to Stowe's lights, Marie is as doomed as Legree to a hell after death; meanwhile, she is in a kind of hell on earth — a different one from the one she subjects her slaves to, but a hell nonetheless.

Clare himself, despite his role as one of the novel's chief spokesmen against slavery, has been morally injured by it; having found it easier to accept the institution than to combat it, he rejects spirituality for both his slaves and himself. Shelby and his wife are both shallow, callous people — as they must be if they are to continue owning slaves. At the physical center of the novel is St.

Clare's nephew, the year-old Henrique, shown to be potentially a kind, loving human being, who is being carefully trained and educated to be as meaningless to himself as Topsy, as soulless as Marie. Even Legree, who as the personification of the institution is an almost inhuman villain, is someone whom slavery has allowed and encouraged to become truly evil, morally dead before he has died physically.

Only Tom loves Legree. This is the irony at the heart of the novel, the key to its thematic conflict. In order to understand what it means, we need to remember, first, that Legree personifies slavery , which is evil precisely because it reduces or attempts to reduce human beings to property — material objects devoid of spiritual existence and value. But slavery cannot actually objectify human beings; Christian love Christ's love, from which, Tom says in his dying words, we are inseparable is stronger.

Tom is able to separate slavery from its personification in Legree, to "hate the sin but love the sinner. We need also to remember that Tom does not love Legree in the material sense in which Topsy, for example, says she loves candy , nor yet in the emotional sense that Tom loves his children.

He does not love him, as some readers have apparently thought, in the sense that a prisoner of war begins to "love" really, to depend upon, to "identify with" in self-protection his captors. Tom loves Legree as, according to the Gospel of Matthew 5: Examples of such figures include Mrs. In contrast, Stowe often portrays men as gruff, avaricious, and morally weaker than their female counterparts.

Uncle Tom provides the one exception to this trend. Like many of the female characters, Tom serves the role of moral guide. Perhaps this parallel can be explained if one takes into account the similar position of disempowerment held by both white women and black slaves. Stowe never explicitly makes a connection between the oppression of women and the oppression of blacks, but she does imply it through her structure of parallelism and contrast.

The book features two opposing plots, the slave narrative and the escape narrative. One could compare the different directions, both literally and symbolically, that these plots take. Stowe often claimed that the writing of her most famous work was aided by the hand of God, tracing its inspiration to a Brunswick communion service in which she tried to imagine the death of a pious slave at the hands of a white master.

Following the tremendous success of the novel, Stowe published A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin , in which she defended the novel against Southern critiques. Although she continued to write prolifically for several more years, none of her later works achieved the success of her first novel. Uncle Tom's Cabin chronicles the life and death of the title character, a black slave known for his reliability and Christian virtue. Beset by financial problems, Mr. Shelby's slave, to a trader.

Eliza, however, flees with her son, jumping from one ice floe to another across the Ohio River and narrowly escaping the pursuing slave dealer and his dogs. Later she is reunited with her husband, George Harris, a highly intelligent escaped slave, in the home of a Quaker family; with the help of the Underground Railroad, they eventually secure their freedom in Canada.

While aboard a ship destined for a New Orleans slave market, Tom saves the life of a young girl named Eva, who later convinces her father, Augustine St. Clare, to purchase her heroic rescuer and friend. Tom quickly gains the affection of everyone on the plantation. He forms a close bond with little Eva, who befriends a young, unmanageable slave girl named Topsy before becoming ill and dying.

Tom also discusses Christianity with St. Clare, who promises to set him free but is killed in a brawl, enabling Mrs. Clare to sell him to the cruel and sadistic Simon Legree, a plantation owner from the North. Intending to make Tom overseer of the other slaves, Legree orders him to flog a sick, weak woman for not working hard enough.

After refusing, Tom himself is beaten by Legree's two black henchmen, Sambo and Quimbo. Legree's mistress, Cassy, a refined quadroon whose daughter had been torn from her and sold into slavery, attends to Tom's injuries and tries to enlist his help in murdering their master. But Tom, a model of Christian forgiveness, refuses and convinces her to abort her plan. Later, when Cassy and her daughter, Emmeline, pretend to escape by hiding in the attic that Legree believes to be haunted, Tom refuses to reveal their whereabouts and is again severely beaten.

Two days later, after George Shelby, the son of Tom's first master, returns to buy him back, Tom dies with words of Christ's love on his lips. Shortly after Tom's death, Cassy and Emmeline finally make their escape, eventually joining the Harrises in Canada, where it is revealed that Eliza is Cassy's lost daughter. Stowe wrote the novel for the specific purpose of ending slavery, but her portrayal of domestic values and her characterization of African Americans has continued to interest critics long after emancipation.

The novel, as several commentators have observed, casts the "peculiar institution" as a crime against home, family, and true Christian values. Not only is slavery shown destroying familial relationships and morality within the slave community, it is depicted as a threat to the homes of all Americans, in both the South and the North. Many modern readers, however, have found in her antislavery arguments a critique against "masculine" values of individualism, competition, and the marketplace—and a concomitant affirmation of "feminine" values of community, love, and domesticity.

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Free Essay: Much like the purpose of Thomas Paine’s pamphlet titled Common Sense, the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe was written for the. Essays and criticism on Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin - Stowe, Harriet Beecher Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life among the Lowly.

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Free Essay: Uncle Tom's Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote this novel during the time of the debates that lead to the Civil War and near the time of the. Parallels and contrasts lend Uncle Tom’s Cabin its structure and inform its rhetorical power. The book features two opposing plots, the slave narrative and the escape narrative. One could compare the different directions, both .