Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Powerful Essays
Published in 1852, Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe was an answer to the passing of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 had declared that all runaway slaves that were caught were to be brought back to their masters. Stowe used the Fugitive Slave Act as “the stimulus for showing [her] white readers how slavery threatened American culture” (Robbins 534). Uncle Tom’s Cabin is an anti-slavery novel, and Stowe uses the novel touch upon all aspects of slavery and its long lasting effects on not only the slaves, but also their families as well as their masters and their masters families. Stowe introduces the reader to characters who feel real and who are suffering at the unforgiving and unjust hands of slavery. She forces her readers to consider the effects of slavery from the point of view of the slaves, instead of from the point of view of the master. Stowe appeals to the reader’s emotions, playing on their guilt and forcing them to see how slavery not only ruins lives, but entire families as well. In Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Stowe demonstrates how the corruptness of slavery dismantles and eradicates domestic life and stability, and that the only way to save the home is to get rid of slavery.

During the time of publication of this novel, the role of women was simple. They were expected to stay home, tend house, and raise children. Stowe takes this idea and builds on it: she appeals to the domesticity of women as a way to highlight the injustice of slavery. In his article, Tim O’Loughlin writes, “… as a popular text, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, in a variety of forms, acted as a public site within which changing concerns about race, gender, class, and issues of nationhood were brought together and linked, or, to...

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...nk outside of the box. It gave people permission to question the things that society was making them believe, and gave them the determination and the motivation to join abolitionist movements to put an end to the injustices of slavery. Stowe used Uncle Tom’s Cabin to appeal to her women readers especially, emphasizing the way that slavery attacked family life and ruined family values. It wasn’t just a market that affected slave owners, either, but also the slaves. Stowe showed how slavery was harmful to everyone and everything that it came into contact with, and forced her readers to see slavery through a new set of eyes. Uncle Tom’s Cabin successfully shows how Stowe believed slavery eradicated domestic stability, and set itself up to be an important novel that helped bring the importance of the abolitionist movement to the forefront of the anti-slavery movement.
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