Power of Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Power of Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

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The Effective Story in Uncle Tom’s Cabin    

 

Harriet Beecher Stowe, a northern abolitionist, published her best-selling novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1852. Uncle Tom’s Cabin contracts the many different attitudes that southerners as well as northerners shared towards slavery. Generally, it shows the evils of slavery and the cruelty and inhumanity of the peculiar institution, in particular how masters treat their slaves and how families are torn apart because of slavery.

 

The novel centers around a pious slave, Uncle Tom, and how he is sold over and over again. It shows the different attitudes that Tom’s masters share about slavery, and how their slaves should be treat. It also teaches Christian values as well as family values. At the time of its publication, Uncle Tom’s Cabin was an immediate success and one of biggest sellers of all time. Despite the fact that Stowe induces her own personal opinions, with the very little experience she has had with slaves, she delivers a magnificent novel which is still enjoyed by many modern readers today. The time of her novel’s publication was very important. It was published at the peak of the abolitionist movement, in the 1850’s. It proved to be very effective propaganda for the abolitionist cause, which Stowe openly supported.

 

Stowe is trying to prove to the reader that slavery is wrong and nothing short of evil and cruel. She does an effective job at proving her point, while delivering a superb novel at the same time. Stowe is constantly tying to prove that slavery is evil. She opens the novel, by showing two slave owners, making a business deal. Mr. Shelby is in debt to Haley, so he must sell Uncle Tom and Harry, tearing them apart from their families. Stowe shows a young slave woman, Eliza and her affection for her son Harry, when she decides to take her son and run away. This disputes the common belief of the time that slaves mothers has less affection for their youth than white women. Uncle Tom is sold again to the carefree Augustine St. Clare whos philosophy is “Why save time or money, when there's plenty of both?” Uncle Tom receives good treatment at the St. Clare’s, which proves that the novel is not one-sided, showing that their where kind slave owners. However Uncle Tom is sold again, this time up the Red River to the “devil” Simon Legree.

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Simon Legree constantly beats his slaves, under feeds them, and over works them. Legree tries to brake Tom’s character by asking him to “join my own church.” Simon Legree is the worst of the worst. If he doesn’t make you see the evils of slavery, then you’re blind. At the climax of the story, Simon Legree over works and beats Tom to the point where Tom dies. When Legree is confronted by George, he simply answers what’s the fuss over a “dead nigger.” Harriet Beecher Stowe proves to the reader that slavery is wrong and evil.

 

Uncle Tom is described as strong, intelligent, capable, good, and kind, he is the most heroic figure in the novel. The list of Tom’s virtues is endless. However his most important characteristic is his Christian faith. When given the opportunity to kill Simon Legree with an axe, he refuses and responds, “no good can come of evil.” Uncle Tom’s main relationship to society is that he a pious, hard working, Christian. And although he at the bottom of the power structure in 19th century American, his morals and values boost his to a position higher than Simon Legree, to “Heaven.”

 

The main character, Uncle Tom is killed at the end of the novel by Simon Legree. Although Uncle Tom was about to brake under Simon Legree’s torture and join “his church,” he resists change. His death forces change, just like little Eva’s death. Just before Tom dies, he cries, “I loves every creatur’ everywhar!—it’s nothing but love! Oh, Mas’r George, what a thing it is to be a Christian!” As a result of his death, the other slaves become good Christians, and George swears on Tom’s grave that he will free slave and “never own slaves for as long as he lives.” But perhaps the greatest change that Uncle Tom’s character forces, is on the reader. Stowe’s ten year old and twelve year old son sum up the readers reaction after having the chapter read to them, “’Oh, mama! Slavery is the most cruel thing in the world.’”

 

I believe the story is effective, Stowe proves to the reader that slavery is wrong and immoral, popularizing the abolitionist cause. However the novel is not realistic, but rather spiritual. Many readers think Stowe’s writing style is the greatest weakness of Uncle Tom’s Cabin; few readers would claim that it is beautifully written. Yet the novel has enormous power. Uncle Tom’s Cabin may be a tearjerker, but it succeeds. Many readers find their eyes filling up as Eliza climbs up the Ohio riverbank, or George Shelby pledges to do “what one man can” to fight slavery. Stowe wanted to convince people that slavery was wrong, to engage their emotions. Her overheated style accomplishes that, perhaps better than more controlled writing would have been able to. Although Stowe’s writing style often is criticized, Uncle Tom’s Cabin is not. It is accepted as one of the finest American novels and will be embraced for many more generations to come. (906)

 
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