Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe

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Harriet Beecher Stowe who was an abolitionist wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin as a statement against the Institution of slavery and the Fugitive Slave Act, enacted in 1850, making it a crime for citizen's of free states to aid runaway slaves. It was originally published in 1852. This story is fiction but is based on actual events. The story begins in the early 1800's in Kentucky. It chronicles the lives of Tom, Eliza, George, their son Harry, Topsy, and Cassy. There are other characters but I felt that these characters had an ultimate destiny that culminates throughout the story. Tom, the main character, was born a slave in the United States. He had been treated well during his first 40 years, actually growing up from an infant with his present master, George Shelby, making Tom a second generation Shelby slave. The farm in Kentucky being the only home he has ever known. He has a one room cabin, a wife and children, and is a Christian that truly emulates the life of his savior, Jesus Christ. Eliza, a beautiful quadroon, is owned by the Shelby's and was brought up by Mrs. Shelby as a “petted and indulged favorite.” She is fair skinned and is described as being able to “pass” for white. She was allowed to marry a slave on a neighboring estate and has a 4 year old son Harry. Her attitude toward her enslavement is very different from her husband's. Her's is a passive belief that she she “owes” the Shelby's for educating and taking care of her. George is Eliza's husband. At the beginning of the story George has been hired out by his master to a small bagging factory. During his employ he invented a machine for cleaning the hemp, which considering the education and circumstances of the inventor ... ... middle of paper ... ...uilt and shame that having any true sense of your spiritual beliefs impossible. Tom and Eva, complete physical and economic opposites, symbolize innocence and love so strongly, create a powerful message in the story. Their unwavering love, compassion and faith in God, even through horrific suffering does give eternal peace. In this life and the next. When Eliza, George and their son Harry finally arrived in Canada they fell to their knees and these were the words that George spoke: “Twas something like the burst from death to life; From the grave's cerements to the robes of heaven; From sin's dominion, and from passion's strife, To the pure freedom of a soul forgiven; Where all bonds of death and hell are riven, And mortal puts on immortality, When Mercy's hand hath turned the golden key, And Mercy's voice hath said, Rejoice, the soul is free.”
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