Literary Analysis Of Uncle Tom's Cabin By Harriet Beecher Stowe

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Abraham Lincoln allegedly referred to Harriet Beecher Stowe as the “the little woman who wrote the book that started this great [Civil] war.” The book which he is referring to is her novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, depicting the struggle of slavery in America. As an abolitionist of slavery, Stowe was a part of the transcendentalist movement. Lasting from 1840 to 1860, transcendentalism highlighted the presence of divinity in every aspect of life with self-reliance and individualism outweighing tradition. She also played a part in the beginnings of the realism era, 1855 to 1890, which voiced the harsh realities of everyday American life. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s upbringing and lack of hesitation to voice her opinions led her to pen one of the most…show more content…
Michael Stratford made his contribution in his article “Literary Analysis of ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’”. Unlike most other views of this novel, Stratford removes the colored glasses to view it as a literary masterpiece untainted by popular opinion. He starts by addressing Stowe’s allusions, or indirect references, to the Bible, and Christianity. Stratford points out that Stowe uses the Christian beliefs as the underlying morals throughout this novel (Stratford). It heightens the issues of slavery both on the side of being compliant to or defying the law. Next he analyzes the dialect. This particular subject has been one to come under much scrutiny. However, when Stratford compares the dialect to that of other significant literary characters, Stowe’s is far more accurate and carefully written (Stratford). Harriet Beecher Stowe also uses much symbolism in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Stratford focuses on the symbolism of the Ohio river and the cabin itself. The river symbolizes fate, and the freedom that is awarded to some and not others. It also is a symbol of the struggle for that freedom. The cabin is a spiritual safe haven where the characters escape from the woes of their life. Finally and perhaps most importantly, Stratford analyzes the protagonist Uncle Tom, an old, faithful slave. From the very beginnings of the novel’s existence, society has viewed Uncle Tom as spineless…show more content…
The evidence includes the fact that the Bible is referenced over 100 times in the novel. Anything referenced that many times in any work is bound to have a large impact upon it. Stowe uses these references to show the difference between Christian standards, and the common political standpoint. This is especially evident when in the story Mrs. Bird, a senator’s wife, says, “I don’t know anything about politics, but I can read my Bible; and there I see that I must feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort the desolate; and that Bible I mean to follow” (Stowe 122). Stratford’s analysis of the symbolism of the Ohio River is shown as Eliza, a slave woman, saves her son from his new master by running them both across the river on chunks of ice. This most famous scene of Uncle Tom’s Cabin is more than just a heroic mother saving her son. Her leap is a symbol of escaping the oppression of slavery. Her perilous journey across the river represents the difficulty the slaves had to go through to obtain their freedom. The final example comes from Uncle Tom when he courageously faces a beating from his master Legree after not giving up the location of runaway slaves. He declares, “mas’r if you was sick or in trouble, or dying, and I could save ye, I’d give ye my heart’s blood; and if taking every drop of blood in this poor old body would save your precious
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