Essay on Gender in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Essay on Gender in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Length: 4426 words (12.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Gender in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin



Harriet Beecher Stowe achieved what is, clearly, her greatest notoriety for writing the

novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin between 1851 and 1852. She was radically inspired by the

passage of the Fugitive Slave Act, and managed to write one of the most successful works

(if not the most successful work) of abolitionist literature. It is even said that Abraham Lincoln

described her as the “little woman” who started the “great war.” Though this presidential

endorsement might be entirely one of legend, it is still worth noting that Stowe has become

linked in the historical eye with the causes of the Civil War.



This meeting, of course, with Abraham Lincoln also serves to illustrate a greater

point: nobody can be sure of whether anything along those lines was actually spoken to

the “little woman.” Yet it has become a part of our collective historical memory, and has

become as good as fact in its recognizability. This identical situation is one that has befallen

Uncle Tom’s Cabin itself.



There is a public view of Uncle Tom, the character, held by anybody with a well-

tuned social conscience--which of course includes many, many people who have never so

much as opened the book. To a lesser extent, the same can be said for the characters of

Topsy, Eva, and Simon Legree, the latter being as much a staple of the Saturday-morning

cartoon canon as the literary canon.



We remember these characters, most of us without ever having actually met them.

Whether or not Stowe was offered such historical significance by the likes of Abraham

Lincoln takes a back seat to the fact that we remember her being assigned th...


... middle of paper ...


...is by casting Tom in the role of heroine that the audience is already so

comfortable reading about.



Works Cited:

Baym, Nina. Women’s Fiction: A Guide to Novels by and About Women in America,

1820-1870. New York: Cornell UP, 1978.

Bellin, Joshua D. “Up to Heaven’s Gate, Down in Earth’s Dust: The Politics of Judgment

in Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” American Literature 65.2 (1993): 275-295

Bentley, Nancy. “White Slaves: The Mulatto Hero in Antebellum Fiction.”

American Literature 65.3 (1993): 501-522

Lang, Amy Schrager. “Slavery and Sentimentalism: The strange career of Augustine

St. Clare.” Women’s Studies 12 (1986): 31-54

Painter, Nell Irvin. “Honest Abe and Uncle Tom.” Canadian Review of American

Studies 30 (2000): 245-272

Stowe, Harrier Beecher. Uncle Tom’s Cabin: or, Life Among the Lowly. New York:

Modern Library, 2001.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe Essay

- 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....   [tags: Uncle Tom's Cabin Essays]

Powerful Essays
2607 words (7.4 pages)

Essay on Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe

- In Uncle Tom's Cabin, Stowe is trying to show the people that a blending of Christian values and politics will help change and unite the nation. According to Professor Eric Sundquist, “the novel was revolutionary in demanding that the sacred and secular realms be united, that the role of God be reinserted into an American political system that paid lip service to Christian ideals and constantly invoked them in its discourse but failed to act upon them seriously.” Stowe believes that transformation could occur through the power of Christian love....   [tags: Uncle Tom's Cabin Essays]

Powerful Essays
1209 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on Harriet Beecher Stowe

- Harriet Beecher Stowe “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.” This quote by Harriet Beecher Stowe was an example of the heartaches she experienced and the wisdom she gained from those experiences. Stowe’s life was not trouble-free; she went through many difficult situations that helped her learn many things about her life, personally, and life in general. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s life experiences- discrimination, exhaustion, and loss- gave her the ability to relate emotionally to slaves which allowed her to write a book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, that affected public opinion by tugging at people’s emotions....   [tags: Authors]

Powerful Essays
1027 words (2.9 pages)

Feminism in Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe Essay

- Feminism in Uncle Tom’s Cabin   While Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin overtly deals with the wrongs of slavery from a Christian standpoint, there is a subtle yet strong emphasis on the moral and physical strength of women. Eliza, Eva, Aunt Chloe, and Mrs. Shelby all exhibit remarkable power and understanding of good over evil in ways that most of the male characters in Stowe’s novel. Even Mrs. St. Claire, who is ill throughout most of the book, proves later that she was always physically in control of her actions, however immoral they were....   [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]

Powerful Essays
1023 words (2.9 pages)

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Henry David Thoreau and the Voices of the Oppressed

- Harriet Beecher Stowe, Henry David Thoreau and the Voices of the Oppressed        There have been many writers who dedicated much of their work towards representing the voices of the oppressed. Among them are Harriet Beecher Stowe and Henry David Thoreau. Although these authors were dedicated to the same cause they approached the subject from their own perspective, reflecting on an issue that was relevant to their position in life. Their literature was used to address, or in some cases attack, problems within society such as race, equality, and gender....   [tags: Biography Biographies Essays]

Powerful Essays
1813 words (5.2 pages)

Modern Criticism of Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin Essay

- Modern Criticism of Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin It is extremely difficult for the modern reader to understand and appreciate Uncle Tom’s Cabin because Harriet Beecher Stowe was writing for an audience very different from us. We don’t share the cultural values and myths of Stowe’s time, so her novel doesn’t affect us the way it affected its original readers. For this reason, Uncle Tom’s Cabin has been heavily scrutinized by the modern critic. However, the aspects of the novel that are criticized now are the same aspects that held so much appeal for its original audience....   [tags: Uncle Toms Cabin]

Powerful Essays
1390 words (4 pages)

Uncle Tom 's Cabin By Harriet Beecher Stowe Essay

- Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote the anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin along with other lesser known works. Stowe wrote to bring to light the wrongs in society, most notably slavery. The literary period, the historical period, the community in which she lived, her family background, her religious beliefs, and her education all influenced Stowe’s desire to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin illustrating the lives of slaves. Despite the criticism she received, she continued to support the abolitionist movement with the same conviction, her actions eventually fulfilling her true goal: freedom....   [tags: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin]

Powerful Essays
1118 words (3.2 pages)

Uncle Tom 's Cabin, By Harriet Beecher Stowe Essay

- Scenes of blood and cruelty are shocking to our ear and heart. What man has nerve to do, man has not nerve to hear” (Stowe 349). This quote, written by Harriet Beecher Stowe in her novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, is found directly after the southern slaveholder, Simon Legree, killed his slave and main character of the novel, Uncle Tom. Stowe, who had learned from former and fugitive slaves, wrote her novel about the atrocities they endured. Many say that this controversial novel aided the abolitionist cause and started the American Civil War before it even began....   [tags: Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe]

Powerful Essays
1004 words (2.9 pages)

Essay about Uncle Tom 's Cabin By Harriet Beecher Stowe

- “Scenes of blood and cruelty are shocking to our ear and heart. What man has nerve to do, man has not nerve to hear” (Stowe 349). This quote, written by Harriet Beecher Stowe in her novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, is found directly after the southern slaveholder, Simon Legree, killed his slave and main character of the novel, Uncle Tom. It was instances, such as those in Uncle Tom’s Cabin that shocked the North; Southerners treated their slaves horrifically, but responded with criticism and denial about the events portrayed....   [tags: Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe]

Powerful Essays
1046 words (3 pages)

Uncle Tom 's Cabin By Harriet Beecher Stowe Essay

- David S. Reynolds, a Professor and specialist in American Literature, Studies, and culture. Who has a Ph.D. from the University of California and author of Mightier than the Sword along with a couple other book. Reynolds wrote “mightier than the sword” with the sole purpose of dismantling all affects the internationally famous book Uncle Tom 's Cabin written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, brought upon the United States to help abolish slavery and the forming of American culture from the late nineteenth century, and up to present day....   [tags: Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe]

Powerful Essays
773 words (2.2 pages)