Uncle Tom's Cabin Analysis

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Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe is considered by many to be an American classic. It is a strongly anti-slavery novel that focuses on the difficult life of black slaves, such as Uncle Tom, and the many atrocities they endure because of their white masters. One evident theme in the book is the connection between education and progress. George Harris, an intellectual slave who echoes the sentiments of the American Revolution, immediately seeks an education after reuniting with his affluent sister. Education “has always been [his] heart’s desire,” and he views it as a road to liberation and progress (Stowe 459). Throughout the novel, however, Stowe implies that education is necessary not only for socioeconomic advancement, but is also…show more content…
For example, the slaves of the Shelby farm are not only good slaves, but they are good people. Their master, Mr. Shelby, “was a fair average kind of man, good natured and kindly, and . . . there had never been a lack of anything which might contribute to the physical comfort of the Negroes on his estate” (19). Mrs. Shelby “was a woman of high class, both intellectually and morally . . . . she added high moral and religious sensibility and principle, carried out with great energy and ability into practical results” (21). Uncle Tom and Eliza, two slaves of the Shelby farm, reflect their masters’ generally good character. Especially Eliza, who learns to be religious from her mistress, and she attempts to instill morality and religion in her husband, George Harris. The St. Clare estate is another example of how slaves internalize the character of their master. For example, Dolph, St. Clare’s slave, is not particularly malicious, but he does reflect St. Clare’s lazy, over indulgent, and pampered ways. Eva, St. Clare’s daughter, however, tries to teach the slaves to be Christian. Even as she is dying, she implores them to turn to God, and the slaves accept her genuine determination and kindness. Tom especially becomes more religious because of Eva as he internalizes her values and religious…show more content…
This type of learning, however, includes both white masters and black slaves, and no one person is solely a teacher or student. The slaves seem to tend to reflect the morals of their masters, while the masters can also be greatly affected by the characters and personalities of their slaves. Ultimately, Stowe suggests that the highest aim of education is to learn to be truly human and that humanity is responsible for each other. If one individual educated in this way, like Tom, can affect so many people, then how would society be affected if an entire community learned to be truly human? Stowe seems to imply that society would change for the better. Citizens would come to recognize that an institution like slavery is evil and needs to be abolished because slavery does not contribute to the making of a moral
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