Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin as a Slavery Novel

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Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a book that brings up and addresses many issues and themes, like: race, religion, femininity, love, suffering, violence, home, and masculinity. But Stowe specifically illustrates the inhumanity and evil of slavery to her mid-19th century readers, for whom slavery was a current and heated political issue. The novel shows not only the misery and the suffering of the slaves themselves, but also the way that slavery as an institution effects everyone involved in it, even those who do not participate directly in slavery– such as northern politicians and citizens. Stowe illustrates the issue of slavery through her use of symbolism and her choice in genre and tone.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin is full of symbolic gestures, actions, people, places, and items that Stowe uses to address slavery. The most important symbol of the book is right in the title, Uncle Tom’s cabin itself, even if it’s not in the novel for very long. In chapter four we get a sense of religious piety and the domestic tranquility that exists within the cabin, showing that, when situations permit (when their master is kind enough, or if they could be freed), slaves like Tom and Chloe can create a perfect 19th century household, faithful, hardworking, and principled. After Tom leaves the Shelbys, the cabin exists as a point of contrast for the other places he lives and the other households that we see, showing the range of living conditions and situations that slaves may find themselves in. The cabin’s humble piety contrasts with the lavish indulgence of the Shelby’s big house or the St. Clare mansion. It also contrasts with wooden shack that Tom lives in on Legree’s plantation and the cotton gin shed where Tom dies. When he has a ca...

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...o Canada, France, and Liberia. And to go along with these genres the tone is kept serious, and the narrator takes his task to educate the reader about the horrors of slavery very seriously indeed. He frequently makes comments intended to enlighten us about the moral conclusions we should draw from its events.
The issue of slavery was a hot and touchy subject when Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote her novel. She saw and heard for herself the stories of others and their experiences and decided that change needed to come, and wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin to address the problems and to encourage support to abolish slavery. She used symbolism, genre and tone to reach out to the readers and open their eyes to the many ways that slavery affected the country. She created characters the readers would get attached to and told their stories in a realistic way in order to inspire change.
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