Essay about Uncle Tom 's Cabin, By Harriet Beecher Stowe

Essay about Uncle Tom 's Cabin, By Harriet Beecher Stowe

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Present in almost every chapter and a reoccurring theme throughout Uncle Tom’s Cabin, religion influences many individual’s thoughts and actions in the nineteenth century, especially on topics involving slavery. Multitudes of slaves were religious, whether educated and converted by their masters or secretly practicing with the risk of being caught and punished, and religion acted as a safe haven for these enslaved individuals, a promise of hope and community in the dark times of slavery. Throughout her influential novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe shows the contrasting roles that religion plays in both the lives of Southerners, such as Augustine St. Clare, and the hardships of enslaved African Americans, such as Uncle Tom.
Playing a prominent role in the South during the 1800s, faith acts a way to contort religious ideas and passages in the Bible to excuse the practices of slavery, and specifically, Augustine St. Clare expresses this way of thinking when purchasing Uncle Tom from Haley, the slave trader, in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. When originally negotiating with Haley over a price for Uncle Tom, Augustine poses the question, “now, as a matter of Christian charity, how cheap could you afford to let him go?”. In this context, Augustine St. Clare believes that buying Tom would be an act of Christian charity and philanthropy, and he uses religion as an attempt to haggle down the price of buying Uncle Tom, a slave for sale. In a way, Augustine St. Clare seeks to guilt Haley into lowering the price he will accept for Uncle Tom through a religious pitch. Continuing on to discuss religion and the faith present in the time period they are experiencing, the slave trader Haley, states that “the country is almost ruined wit...


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...vidual who views religion as a privilege in his life instead of a burden or way to make excuses. Overall, Stowe expresses that slaves, such as Uncle Tom, practice a more wholesome and emotional way of religion compared to the Southerners present in the Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
In Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe explores the bland, hypocritical, and political way Southerners utilize religion compared to the pure, genuine, and devoted faith that Uncle Tom and other slaves exhibit. Overall, religion remains quite present throughout Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and the North and the South use Christianity and the Bible as arguments both for and against the abolishment of slavery. Yet, in this framework, Stowe simply uses Uncle Tom and Augustine St. Clare as symbolic figures when projecting her views on the varying religious aspects that both slaves and Southerners value.

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