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The Message of Harriet Beecher Stowe

Powerful Essays
Abraham Lincoln once proclaimed, "So this is the little lady who made this big war." In the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, the author, Harriet Beecher Stowe, uses her book to tell of a slave's pitiful life. The book begins by introducing Uncle Tom, a pious black slave, who lives his life with strong Christian values. When his first master gets into large debts, Mr. Shelby has to sell Tom, even against his promise of granting him his freedom. Tom is then bought by Mr. St. Clare, who is a laid-back and compassionate master. While Tom is there, he builds a religious bond with St. Clare's daughter, Eva. Unexpectedly, Eva dies from a illness, and St. Clare is stabbed and dies shortly after. Even though St. Clare had promised Tom his freedom, St. Clare's cruel wife sells him to a slave house where he is sold to the barbaric and ruthless Simon Legree. While under the rule of Master Legree, Tom sometimes doubts there is a God and his Christian beliefs. After spending a year of torture at the plantation, his old master, George Shelby, finds him in order to buy him and take him home. Each of these masters signify another stage in Tom's life. Unfortunately, Tom dies after his reunion with George shortly after he claims he died a content man. When George returns home, he tells Tom's wife what happened and sets up papers to free all of his slaves. He tells his slaves that whenever they see Uncle Tom's old cabin, they must think of Tom and of their freedom. From this storyline, Harriet Beecher Stowe uses the power of her novel to persuade the public of her beliefs concerning the evilness of slavery, the power of Christianity, and the influence of women.

One of Stowe's beliefs, which is strongly illustrated, is the wickedness surrounding slavery. ...

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...her, and was raised a Presbyterian with Christian values. Thus, she felt that slavery was cruel and unorthodox. Along with being an abolitionist, Stowe was a feminist, believing that all women should have power and influence. These three concepts are commonly expressed though out the novel, conveying her message to the audience. For further influence, the characters of Uncle Tom's Cabin are based on actual people and real events that occurred. Stowe hoped by doing so, people across America would experience the life of a typical slave and draw awareness to the cruelties of the south. More importantly, Stowe humanized the black man, revealing that the only difference is the color of their skin. Fortunately, Stowe was very successful in marketing her novel, selling over 300,000 copies in 1852. Brilliantly, Stowe even influenced the nation to start the Civil War.