Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Slavery, Racism and God

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Uncle Tom’s Cabin was written in 1852 by Harriet Beecher Stowe. It was her first book which quickly became the bestseller of 19th century. In the first year more than 300,000 copies were sold but by the mid 1900’s the book was out of printing and returned back in 1960s for Civil Rights changes. The term “Uncle Tom” became an insult meaning a black man who subserves to white people. The book is about sufferings of an old African-American man experienced as a slave. At that time, African people were slaves and had much lower life level than white wealth people. In the book Tom belonged to a kind person Mr.Shelby who sold Tom because of Shelby’s debt. Then Tom belonged to Haley who was a slave trader and cared only about the money he can get from the slaves. On his trader ship Tom saved the young girl Eva that fell off the board and started drowning. Eva’s father- Mr.St Clair buys Tom out and Eva promised Tom his freedom but before he got it, Eva died just as her father. Mrs.St Clair sold Tom to a cruel man - Simon Lowry who whipped Tom to death because the one didn’t give the location of escapers.

Two main stories drive the plot of the novel: the escape of Eliza and George towards freedom and Uncle Tom’s story of slavery. By reading the book, it becomes noticeable that Stowe uses these two stories to show the difference of regions in America.The action in the escape story moves increasingly fast to the North with Canada as an endpoint, however, Tom’s story moves slowly far into the deepest South. Eliza and George succeeded in escaping from slavery into the North when Tom painfully was whipped to death in the South. The representation of these two regions was very accurate as the only escape from slavery was out of states, South was more cruel to slaves and North also wasn’t safe enough for slaves, as they did not have full freedom. So geography of this novel played a big role for slavery.

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This book was based on slavery and racism. Mr.Shelby’s words: 'I would rather not sell him, the fact is, sir, I'm a humane man, and I hate to take the boy from his mother, sir.' are a direct evidence how even young children were slaves and could be easily separated from their parents (Uncle Tom’s Cabin, pg.5). Mr.Shelby tried to avoid separating the child from his mother but Haley convinced him to do so. In fact Haley’s argument was: 'These critters ain't like white folks, you know; they gets over things, only manage right.' (Uncle Tom’s Cabin, pg.5). Before that Haley advised to buy some jewelry for the mother so she would feel better. So Mr.Haley’s thoughts are typical for that time, most of the people thought that Africans don’t feel about families and freedom the same way whites do but they were wrong. The only reason why Africans did not feel the same way was only because they did not know how it feels. Even Mrs.Shelby who was extremely kind to her slaves was a racist: 'Tom is a noble-hearted, faithful fellow, if he is black'. According to her words, African- Americans could not be like Tom, they were seem as “no feelings tools” only, especially at the South (Uncle Tom’s Cabin, pg.32).

Big part of the novel consisted faith in God: “...if you only trust in God, and try to do right, he'll deliver you.', 'O, George, we must have faith. Mistress says that when all things go wrong to us, we must believe that God is doing the very best.' (Uncle Tom’s Cabin, pg.17). Faith is everything African-Americans have to survive slavery. In 19th century most of the people were Christians and for Africans it was very important to have faith because they believed that after death they will have their freedom: “but, after ye've killed the body, there an't no more ye can do. And O, there's all ETERNITY to come, after that!' (Uncle Tom’s Cabin, pg.378).

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Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Slavery, Racism and God. (2022, Jun 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/uncle-toms-cabin-slavery-racism-and-god/
“Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Slavery, Racism and God.” Edubirdie, 29 Jun. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/uncle-toms-cabin-slavery-racism-and-god/
Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Slavery, Racism and God. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/uncle-toms-cabin-slavery-racism-and-god/> [Accessed 21 Jun. 2024].
Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Slavery, Racism and God [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 29 [cited 2024 Jun 21]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/uncle-toms-cabin-slavery-racism-and-god/
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