The novel is a realistic, although fictional view of slavery with the images of brutal beatings and unfair slave practices. After reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin thousand of northerners became impassioned for the anti-slavery cause. Uncle Tom's Cabin helped eventually to turn the tide of public opinion against slavery in the 19th century( Taylor 1). This controversial novel was initially written to question slavery, convince people of its immorality and to promote the abolitionist cause. The novel’s rendering of the slave holding south is not entirely an accurate interpretation of what it was like though.
The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Paul Laughter. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002. 1871-1880.
To accurately understand how their slaveholders’ horribly treated most of them with brutal punishments, one must read these slave testimonies. Also when reading some of these testimonies of their lives story, we can help prevent human slavery from ever happening again in America. America is said to be a free nation of which all men are created equal, possessing the slave’s point of view on this matter may not help them in the future. However, they may help other slaves from receiving these unfair punishments in the future. Although their side of the story is extremely important, they are not always the most reliable source to use when studying slavery.
Paul Lautier. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004: 239-240. ---, “Huswifery.” The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Paul Lautier.
Autobiography and Poor Richards almanacks. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. 3rd ed. Ed. Paul Lauter.Boston, NewYork: Houghton Mifflin,1998.
Having himself been kept as a slave until he escaped from Maryland in 1838, he was able to deliver very impassioned speeches about the role of the slave holders and the slaves. Many Northerners tried to discredit his tales, but no one was ever able to disprove his statements. Frederick Douglass does offer a biased review of slavery, as he was born into it, yet even in his bias he is able to detect and detail the differences in the slave holders cruelty and that to which he was subjected. From being whipped and humiliated daily, "a very severe whipping… for being awkward" (101), to being able to find his own work and save some money, "I was able to command the highest wages given to the most experienced calkers" (134), he is able to give the reader a more true picture of slavery. His poignant speeches raised the ire of many Northerners, yet many still felt the slaves deserved their position in life.
The injustices of slavery are frequently identified in the novel but, of course, the practice is continued. Many of those involved in holding slaves are sensitive to the problem. Mr. Shelby, for instance, is not contented by the idea but enjoys the benefits out of what he deems necessity. The inherent problem of slavery is again stated when John Van Trompe is being described. His worn appearance is attributed to the ,"workings of a system equally bad for oppressor and oppressed,"(105).