Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe

1262 Words6 Pages
Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a deeply symbolic narrative depicting the lives of a group of black slaves in southern America and the slave owners and slave hunters that followed them through their lives. Author Harriet Beecher Stowe, a white woman, uses her striking narrative to raise philosophical and moral questions about the implications of the institution of slavery in mid-19th century America. Her novel touches on the limits of the human spirit and the common human connection that brings together all people, whites, blacks, men and women alike. Her work was designed and intended to shock and horrify readers with its blatant and vivid descriptions of the atrocities that blacks endured during this both, both free and enslaved alike. Her work was written after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which made aiding any fugitive slave a federal crime. Americans were aware of the presence of slavery in the nation and federal laws surrounding the institution, but did not fully comprehend the grisly truth behind the actual practice of slavery itself and its effect on the everyday lives of blacks.
While Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a fictional narrative, it was based on daily events happening in America at the time. The novel’s primary and most obvious theme is the evils and immorality of the entire institution of slavery. The novel introduces relatable and likeable characters who happen to be slaves. It also introduces sympathetic and kind white slave-owners, such as the young girl who Uncle Tom befriends, Eva, and her father, Augustine St. Clare. The novel portrays these slaves as human beings and not just as possessions, with human emotions and intelligence, a view that was rarely taken of blacks during this time, as they were seen as s...

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...d brought into the spotlight, but also it did so in a manner so shocking and realistic that Americans could not help but take notice. Its themes and messages were clear and concise; slavery was an unnecessary evil and stain on the moral values of a self-proclaimed Christian nation. Stowe took never before used approaches to describing the sufferings that slaves went through, creating sympathy for relatable human characters and families that sunk into all different types of American consciences. Americans would begin to doubt their own morality and the Christian way of life would come into question like never before. While a smaller theme, the notion of female strength and perseverance would aid in the development of the status of women in society.

Works Cited

Beecher Stowe, Harriet. Uncle Tom's Cabin: Life Among the Lowly. Boston: John P. Jewett & Company, 1852.
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