The Strength of Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

The Strength of Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Length: 750 words (2.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
The Power of Uncle Tom’s Cabin  

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, has had a tremendous impact on American culture, both then and now.  It is still considered a controversial novel, and many secondary schools have banned it from their libraries.  What makes it such a controversial novel?  One reason would have been that the novel is full of melodrama, and many people considered it a caricature of the truth.  Others said that she did not show the horror of slavery enough, that she showed the softer side of it throughout most of her novel.  Regardless of the varying opinions of its readers, it is obvious that its impact was large.

      For instance many of the characters in the book have become the stereotypes of slavery in the South.  An example of this is Uncle Tom himself, whose name was eventually degraded into a nickname for blacks who were too subservient to whites.  He became the stereotype of the passive slave who would do anything his master told him, because it was his duty as a slave.  However few remember how the strength of his faith was what allowed him to tolerate the horrors that were enacted upon him. 

      Another example of the stereotyping of Stowe’s characters is Aunt Chloe, Uncle Tom’s wife, and her children.  Aunt Chloe is an excellent example because she has become the “Aunt Jemima” stereotype.  She had a “round, black, shining face” and wore a checkered headscarf, and she worked in the kitchen, took care of the kitchen, and basically ran the household.  Not to mention for many years black children were still stereotyped as mischievous like Mose, Pete, and, later in the novel, Topsy. 

     Even the slave owners and traders are stereotypes now.  Mr. Shelby and his wife have become the “gentlemen and lady” slave holders, who see themselves as good Christian people and attempt to take good care of their slaves, but still don’t see black people as equal to whites.  Simon Legree has become the stereotypical cruel master, who let his estate go to hell, but continued to work his slaves too hard and beat them senseless (or, in Tom’s and other’s cases, to death) when they did not behave as he thought they should. 

      However there are other ways this novel has been influential to American culture.  After its publishing it helped spread the ideas of the abolitionist movement.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Strength of Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe." 21 Nov 2019

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

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]

Research Papers
1118 words (3.2 pages)

Uncle Tom 's Cabin By Harriet Beecher Stowe Essay

- In our country 's weakest decade, one woman moved an immensely corrupt society. Abraham Lincoln referred to her as, “the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war” (Stowe). Harriet Beecher Stowe first published Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1852. She inspired her audience by unmasking the calamity of slavery. This novel quickly became the second best seller, right behind the Bible. Written in the perspective of a slave the story created a new meaning for abolitionists. With unique style and enduring themes the high standard for anti-slavery literature emerged....   [tags: Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Novel]

Research Papers
1375 words (3.9 pages)

Essay about Silence In Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin

- Silence In Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin "Out of silence," said the Unitarian theologian Carlyle, "comes thy strength."[1] I believe Carlyle is describing one of two kinds of silence. On one side, silence can be negative and harmful. This is the silence of oppression, a controlling force which leaves victims voiceless and the needy helpless. This is not what Carlyle means by his silence. He is invoking a different force. His silence has agency; it is the silence of resistance, of overcoming, and of strength....   [tags: Harriet Stowe Uncle Tom's Cabin Essays]

Research Papers
2244 words (6.4 pages)

Harriet Beecher Stowe 's ' Uncle Tom 's Cabin ' Essay

- "So you 're the little woman who wrote the book that started this Great War?" asked the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, to Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1862. The publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin has forever changed how America would view slavery. The impact of this one ladys pen has set history for Harriet Elisabeth Beecher was born on June 14, 1811 in Litchfield, Connecticut into a prominent family of preachers. The sixth of eleven children, Harriet’s father played a powerful and dominant role in the lives of his children and instilled in all of them that they would impact the world....   [tags: Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe]

Research Papers
1033 words (3 pages)

Essay about Harriet Beecher Stowe 's Oldtown Folks

- Noble, yet Contradictory Women Writers of the 19th Century, Fighting for the Same Cause Written expression is a beautiful thing and is a freedom Americans are granted when becoming citizens here. Harriet Beecher Stowe is known as “the most important American woman writer of the nineteenth century” (Showalter). Famous for Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet published ten novels during her writing career. Stowe began writing in the 1830’s to support her family of seven children and husband, Calvin Stowe....   [tags: Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe]

Research Papers
1095 words (3.1 pages)

Harriet Beecher Stowe : The Second Great Awakening Essay example

- Harriet Beecher Stowe During a time when politicians hoped the American people would forget about slavery, Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote a novel that brought it to the attention of thousands. Stowe’s ideas had a profound affect on a growing abolitionist movement not because they were original, but because they were common. Harriet was born in an orderly, federal-era town of Litchfield, Connecticut on June 14th 1811. She was the seventh child of Lyman and Roxana Beecher. Her family ran a boarding house during her childhood, which her father Lyman was constantly expanding to make room for is growing family and growing number of boarders....   [tags: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin]

Research Papers
1360 words (3.9 pages)

Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin Essay

- Harriet Beecher Stowe promotes two related but distinct moral codes in Uncle Tom's Cabin: One that is based on Christian values, the other on maternal values. Consider how, at the beginning of the novel, both Uncle Tom and Eliza decide to act when told they are to be sold. Uncle Tom puts his faith in God and lets whatever will happen, happen. Eliza, who as well faces being separated from her child, decides to escape. Both decisions, though opposing, are sympathetically portrayed and seem appropriate to each character....   [tags: Stowe Uncle Tom's Cabin]

Research Papers
2328 words (6.7 pages)

Analysis of Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe Essay

- Analysis of Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, is arguably the most influential novel in American History. Stowe’s sentimental writing style seized the imagination of her readers and Uncle Tom’s Cabin became the standard of the abolition movement. Uncle Tom, one of the protagonists, spreads Christianity and dies for his faith, like Christ. By equating Uncle Tom with Jesus Christ, Harriet Beecher Stowe deliberately provokes her audience to social change and abolition....   [tags: Uncle Tom's Cabin Essays]

Research Papers
787 words (2.2 pages)

Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe Essay

- Uncle Tom’s Cabin has been explained as being a history of harmful acts towards Blacks in America for a period of a hundred and thirty years (Stowe, “Nineteenth”). 51).The book Uncle Tom’s Cabin was one of History’s favorite books (Stowe, “Nineteenth” 1). It talks about how Tom would do anything for the white man (Stowe, Uncle 1). The southerners did not give Harriet Beecher Stowe and credit for writing the book (Piacentino 1). Uncle Tom showed a lot of Christianity in this book, but the master showed no Christianity at all (Stowe, Uncle 1)....   [tags: Uncle Tom's Cabin Essays]

Research Papers
1160 words (3.3 pages)

Essay about Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

- Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe      In the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom, the main character, possesses a trait that sanctifies him from the rest of the characters. Uncle Tom's faith is his source of strength throughout the novel. This is portrayed socially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Uncle Tom relies solely on his faith in God to assist him in all the trials, tribulations, and hardships that he endures. Tom never succumbs to the sin that those around him are so deeply engulfed....   [tags: Uncle Tom's Cabin Essays]

Research Papers
1674 words (4.8 pages)

Related Searches

  Though some thought the book was to soft, it still brought to light some of the horrors of slavery, and the hypocritical Christian ideology of the South. The fact that this novel is written using Christianity and what makes a “good” Christian is versus what makes a “bad,” or hypocritical, Christian, shows that the much of America has moved away from the Deist movement of the 18th century.

     It is a return to a more puritanical Christianity.  For while God is still a more distant, and kinder, figure than his was in the Puritans’ world, he is once more involved in the daily lives of people.  This novel shows the beginnings of what many of today’s churches believe that God is always present in the lives of his children and he helps people out in mysterious ways.  An example of this in the novel is Eliza’s crossing of the Ohio River.  Sam, one of the slaves who was “helping” Mr. Haley catch Eliza, told his Mrs. Shelby that it was only with God’s help that she could have made it across the river by jumping on the ice flows.

     Though it is a novel full of melodrama, it is also a moving novel that has had a profound effect on American culture.  It is also a novel that has mirrored some of the changes in American culture, such as the slowly changing views of Christianity.  The abolitionist movement, and those who the movement was trying to convince, profoundly felt the novel’s impact.  Its message is still important, or there would not be arguments over whether the book should be required reading, or whether the book should be in the school libraries at all.  This book, along with such novels as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn  by Mark Twain, will always be important as long as there are people who believe that its message is not only irrelevant but that it should be banned from libraries, or even burned.  And so Harriet Beecher Stowe has managed to influence American culture and society more than 100 years after Uncle Tom’s Cabin  was published.
Return to