Death Symbolizes Heroism In Uncle Tom's Cabin?

Death Symbolizes Heroism In Uncle Tom's Cabin?

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Is Stowe’s antislavery argument supported by the death scenes of Eva and Tom? In Uncle Tom’s Cabin the death of Eva and Tom can be symbolized as a heroic victory for the other characters, who are slaves, to be set free. Stowe parallels these two Christian figures, Eva and Tom, to Jesus’ death. Both characters that pass away have similar attributes that are emphasized throughout Stowe’s novel. They both had faith in God and they created a change in slavery after their death. Many characters showed much sorrow for the death of Eva and Tom. These two death scenes leave a lasting impression on the other characters and the reader of the novel. Keeping in mind that Stowe had a purpose for these two scenes to develop her argument that slavery should be abolished, I will be discussing the way Eva and Tom impacted the characters and reader.
The death of Eva and Tom can symbolize many effects in the book. Both of their faith makes the comparison to Christ a big parallel for the reader. One common thread between the two characters and Christ are that the deaths are sacrificial and in the fundamental nature for the rescue of others. Everywhere Tom is sent as a slave he seems to give the strength of faith along with love to the other characters. Even though Tom is a slave others seem to respond remarkable to his thoughts and beliefs. He retains his truthfulness and refuses to betray his fellow slaves at the cost of his life! Eva, unlike Tom, is not a slave but is seen as a likable character by all. Even though we can distinguish similarities between both characters and Christ, I feel Tom resembles Christ more because they are both males, they both suffer physically, and are both beaten when expressing their beliefs.
Characters in this novel seem to believe in Tom and Eva’s messages while they are alive but when both characters die it seems their lives leave a lasting impression about Christianity and the wrong doings of being a slave owner. I felt, as a reader, that Stowe made Eva’s and Tom’s death more important than life itself. Eva’s death does not perform through the sudden collapse of the slave system, but proves value through the conversation with
Topsy and how Miss Ophelia responds to her after Eva passes.

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Topsy will not behave because she feels she has never had a mother’s love and she believes that no one can love her. When Eva explains that Miss Ophelia will love her if she were good Topsy cries out: “No; she can’t bar me, ‘cause I’m a nigger!-she’d soon have a toad touch her! There can’t nobody love niggers, and niggers can’t do nothin’! I don’t care”(409). Eva goes on to confess her love for Tospy and tells her to be good for Eva’s sake. Eva express that it will only be a little while for her to be with Topsy, giving the impression that she will die soon. In this discussion Eva is expressing her love and she initiates a process that is conveyed from heart to heart with Topsy that can changed the whole view point of one character. When Eva was dead Topsy cried out “there an’t nobody left now,-there an’t!” (431) Miss Ophelia took Eva’s place and explained to Topsy “I can love you, though I am not like that dear little child. I hope I’ve learnt something of the love of Christ from her. I can love you; I do, and I’ll try to help
you to grow up a good Christian girl.” (432) By dying, even a child, it can be the device of deliverance for others, since in death Eva acquires a spiritual power over those who loved her beyond what she possessed in life.
One strength of Uncle Tom’s Cabin is the ability to illustrate slavery’s effects on families. In the novel the destruction of family, the primary result of slavery, has various results on the characters as well as the reader. In Stowe’s antislavery novel the examples of Tom and Eva dying are one way for her to make a strong argument about slavery being cruel and inappropriate. The deaths of Tom and Eva can signify the pure and powerless dying to save the powerful and corrupt, and thereby show themselves more powerful than those they save. Tom is separated from his family from the beginning of the novel. He is content with George Harris but is sold because of Mr. Harris’ debt. He then saves Eva on a boat and is bought by her father because of his heroic save of his daughter. Later Tom discusses Christianity with St. Clare, Eva’s father. After listening to Tom’s beliefs St. Clare promises to set him free but is killed in a bar brawl. This is one example that Stowe is portraying to the reader that slave owners need to act at the moment of thought before another trade happens and it is too late. Since St. Clare dies his wife is forced to sell Tom to Simon Legree. Stowe uses Tom’s death in the same sense that slavery will only come to an end if people act accordingly because you never know what will happen to the owner. If none of their wishes are on paper then it is hard to free slaves. Eva was not initially separated from her family. She did not leave them until death. Her death did bring the good of Miss Ophelia taking Topsy back to Vermont to live with her. These two deaths show the hardship of being separated from family and not being able to decide what happens with your beliefs, but leaving behind their beliefs and values Tom and Eva made it possible for some characters (Miss Ophelia and George) to see the good in letting slave families reconnect or a family start in Topsy’s case.
Throughout Tom’s journey from the Shelby farm to his death on Legree’s farm, many of the slaves and sympathizers held incrediably high morality levels, while there non-supporter displayed acts of cruelty and hatred. After Tom passed away and they buried him George kneeled on his grave and said, “oh, witness, that, from this hour, I will do what one man can to drive out this curse of slavery from my land” (593)! This quote from George is expressing his sorrow for Tom’s death and is explaining that he is agreeing to tell his slaves to celebrate their freedom and to strive to act like Tom. Tom’s death finally gains him power. For the first time in the novel he is able to speak with vehemence and power to George before he goes to heaven. In the ending of the book Tom expressed to George, “Don’t call me poor fellow! I have been poor fellow; but that’s all past and gone, now. I’m right in the door, going into glory...!” (590)
The figure of Christ is the common thread which unites all of the novel’s good characters in the end. Eva is referred to as an angel many times throughout the book. She always wore white and is now in heaven looking upon

everyone. The values and attributes that Tom felt important from the beginning of the novel are now living on especially through George because he is getting rid of the slaves. I believe the death scenes provide the reader with Stowe’s antislavery argument. She wanted the slave owners to act accordingly to what they promised because if you don’t it could be too late to change your beliefs about being a slave owner! Through the examples I provided we, as readers, recognize that the heroic behavior sampled by Eva and Tom should be practiced by everyone, both black and white. This behavior can be explained by what the two main characters performed before passing away, to change the beliefs of slaves being a non acceptable possession. Tom’s death can also offer hope to make a social change against slavery. If other people follow George Shelby’s decision Tom has impacted a big movement towards slave owners letting their slaves be free! A similarity between Uncle Tom and Eva’s deaths are the facts that the deaths of such loving individuals inspired others to free the slaves. Hopefully freedom can reunite family and friends that once were bonded until sold to separate slave holders!
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