The Role Of Religion In Uncle Tom's Cabin

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Present in almost every chapter and a reoccurring theme throughout Uncle Tom’s Cabin, religion influences many individual’s thoughts and actions in the nineteenth century, especially on topics involving slavery. Multitudes of slaves were religious, whether educated and converted by their masters or secretly practicing with the risk of being caught and punished, and religion acted as a safe haven for these enslaved individuals, a promise of hope and community in the dark times of slavery. Throughout her influential novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe shows the contrasting roles that religion plays in both the lives of Southerners, such as Augustine St. Clare, and the hardships of enslaved African Americans, such as Uncle Tom.…show more content…
While further characterizing Uncle Tom, Stowe describes his Bible and how Master George would read to Tom. She continues to share that “as they read, [Uncle Tom] would designate…the passages which more particularly gratified his ear or affected his heart” and that his markings “helped him more than the most learned expositions could have done”. Here, Stowe highlights the emotional and genuine effect that religion had on slaves. Clearly, Uncle Tom cares about the passages in the Bible that ardently affect him and speak to his heart, not the political passages that can be twisted justify sinful actions. The slaves focus on the messages and themes in the Bible that calm their emotions and bring them hope and joy, and they practice religion for themselves instead of being forced to attend church because it is a tradition, like some individuals and children in the South. When bargaining over the price of Uncle Tom, Haley attests that he has seen this pious nature in slaves “as often as any, your rail softly, quiet, stiddy, honest, pious, that the hull world couldn’t tempt ‘em to do nothing that they thinks is wrong”. He relates this religious, honest nature in Uncle Tom to slaves in general, explicitly showing the difference in religious views and faith between Southerners and slaves. Again when trying to persuade Augustine St. Clare to obtain Uncle Tom as a slave of his own, Haley proclaims that he “can show recommends from [Tom’s] master and the others to prove that [Uncle Tom] is one of your real pious – the most humble, praying pious critter ye ever did see…he’s been called a preacher in them parts he came from”. Instead of a self-righteous proclaiming religious individual, Uncle Tom comes across as a modest and sincere individual who views religion as a
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