Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe

1323 Words6 Pages
Much like the purpose of Thomas Paine’s pamphlet titled Common Sense, the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe was written for the purpose of spreading the message that racism against the blacks and slavery had to stop. This book, based on real people and factual evidence is considered by many to be the event that started the Civil War in America between the North and the South. This was the piece of information that opened the eyes of a nation who claimed that they did not know that the racism and slavery issue went so far.

A leading statement in the novel is said by a character named St. Clare. There is a scene where he is talking to Miss Ophelia, his cousin, arguing that the business of slavery and owning slaves to be morally wrong. Then, there comes a point where he says, “Quashy shall do my will, and not his, all the days of his mortal life, and have such chance of getting to heaven, at least, as I find convenient. This I take to be about what slavery is. I defy anybody on earth to read our slave-code, as it stands in our law-books, and make anything else of it. Talk of the abuses of slavery! Humbug! The thing itself is the essence of all abuse!” (Stowe, 224) St. Clare could not be any more correct. How can someone own the life of another? How can one be so blind as to find this logic not twisted or sick? Slavery is the essence of all abuse. The theory of this is the soul of abuse, not even the practice. There is nothing right or funny about this concept. Harriet Beecher Stowe is screaming out at the reader that this obviously has to stop now.

There are also passages in the book that show the sacrifices and chances that had to be made to escape from the slave states. One of the most moving of these descriptions...

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...rong, but don’t do anything about it. The last thing she says in the book is where she relates it to the Church and to God. She says that both the South and the North have sinned before God, and that if they don’t repent and make things right, they will feel the “wrath of Almighty God!” (Stowe, 451)

Stowe’s polemic style of writing seems to be very effective. She builds a scenario for her readers and then approaches them in a very humanistic way. She writes so that if they don’t see the situation her way, then they are wrong. She appeals to them both intellectually and emotionally. To do this, she utilizes universal themes, so that on top of her argument, the people reading the book can relate to it as well. Once she has the people won over, she keeps them in the story, and by the end, she has converted them to a new school of thought, one without racism or slavery.
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