A Short Analytical Response to “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Analytical Response In Chapter XLIV of Uncle Toms Cabin George Shelby’s speech is a very important quotation embodying two mainthemes of the novel by Harriet Beecher
a) Uniting the idea of slaverys vice
b) Redemption of Christianity
He gives this speech at the time when he sets free all his slaves, freedom which he has already promised them two chapters earlier. It is this speech that stamps the image of Uncle Toms Cabin as the main metaphor of the novel. George Shelby remembers that Uncle Tom was taken from the house when he sees it. It brings to Shelby’s mind the suffering that Uncle Tom must have endured being separated from his wife and children. For him the cabin embodies freedom and he wants his former slaves to think of their freedom whenever they see the cabin. He asks them to lead pious lives according to Christian doctrines. He wants them to follow Uncle Toms example. The cabin is a metaphor for the evils of slavery thatdestroys a family by breaking it apart. The cabin becomes a symbol of love and redemptive power of Christianity. Shelby is motivated by toms death and impressed enough by his faith in these two mainframes that he set his slaves free.
This dialogue between Senator Bird and his wife in Chapter IX just before Eliza arrival at their doorstep clarifies some of the main themes of the novel. Slavery is condemned and is put forth as contrary to Christian faith and doctrines. The portrait of a woman that is painted is definitely more morally trust worthy than that of the man. In this long quote Stowe attacks a very typical claim of her times i.e. slavery and laws like the Fugitive Slave Act should be borne for greater good of the public and civil order. Mrs. Bird wants to follow her conscience and what the bible tells her to do. She does not believe in an immoral law. She believes that inner conscienceshould be the guide to be followed for virtue than any other law, specially a law that is based on cruelty. This theme is repeated time and again throughout the novel.
“I looks like gwine to heaven,” said the woman; “Isn’t that where white folks is gwine? S’pose they’d have me that? I’d rather go to torment, and get away from Master and Missis.” (Stowe 443)
In chapter ten, Prue, an exploited slave-girl utters these words as Uncle Tom tries to persuade her to search for a higher entity and lead a religious life which will, according to him, provide her a place in heaven. Prues character is the perfect example of the typical melodramatic slavery which was considered the norm of the time and in which racism was rampant. Uneducated and ignorant as she is, she feels that even after her death she will be spending life after death working for her racist white masters, because she is bound to serve them and remain loyal to them.
Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Toms Cabin, Vol. 1 of 2. 1852. Reprint. ReadHowYouWant; EasyRead Comfort Edition edition, 2008. Print. Bottom of Form