Essay written by Billy Cooke
Harriet Beecher Stowe expressed a need to awaken sympathy and feeling for the African race in the novel Uncle Toms Cabin. She was born June 14, 1811 in Litchfield, Connecticut. She was the daughter of a Calvinist minister and she and her family was all devout Christians, her father being a preacher and her siblings following. Her Christian attitude much reflected her attitude towards slavery. She was for abolishing it, because it was, to her, a very unchristian and cruel institution. Her novel, therefore, focused on the ghastly points of slavery, including the whippings, beatings, and forced sexual encounters brought upon slaves by their masters. She wrote the book to be a force against slavery, and was joining in with the feelings of many other women of her time, whom all became more outspoken and influential in reform movements, including temperance and women’s suffrage. The main point of Harriet Beecher Stowe in the writing of Uncle Tom’s Cabin was to bring to light, slavery, to people in the north. In this she hoped to eventually sway people against slavery.
Stowe did a great job with this book. What is believed to be one of the influential books of all time, ranking with the works of Adam Smith and Machiavelli, Uncle Tom’s Cabin became an abolitionist’s bible. During its time it was revised, dramatized, and published often. The effect of her book on the north and everywhere in the US was unforeseen. The book was popular and caused abolitionism to run wild among northerners. The south hated the book because of its portrayal of its (The South’s) peculiar institution. It might have been influential enough to be considered one of the causes of the civil war, by creating a greater number of northerners against slavery. It displayed to the north all the evils of slavery, by creating human characters out of slaves, who were thought to be inhuman. Stowe’s ideas were that slavery is wrong, which is a correct assumption. A human should not be owned because we are not animals, plants, or minerals. Humans have souls and should and can not be owned by other r humans, because they are all created equal.
Stowe’s style of staggering chapters about Tom with chapters about Eliza was effective by showing hope in two different situations. Eliza hoped for freedom while Tom hoped for eternity. Stowe plays these two motivations of her characters off each other to project the point of the book to the intelligent. She emphasizes her main points throughout the whole book, perhaps too much, but she was right in doing this, too make sure no one missed the point. She is biased against slaves, oddly enough. She portrays the whiter ones as more intelligent and clever, as is seen with George and Eliza, and the darker ones as more slow-witted, for example, Tom. Stowe also did what any intelligent reader from the beginning of the book expects of her. She creates a chapter at the end reinforcing the story in the book with historical facts, meaning that it’s based loosely on the real world. She seems to do her research well for the story, and her perspective was rather open, backing up slaveholders as well as abolitionists by expressing the slaveholders feelings of hopelessness towards going against society, seen in St. Clare. She made the slaves more human and the slaveholders appear to be morally wrong, but not by always using morally correct slaves and masters without morals. For example, Stowe creates a character, Adolf, the overseer of sorts for St. Clare. Adolf is a slave who is not morally correct he steals from St. Clare often, yet he appears more human for doing so. The slaves or human but not divine, as are the masters, creating a sense of equality, which Stowe wanted to put across. She wrote the book well, choosing where it was best to put which idea, and making many allusions to historical events around the time, which made her book more popular to the people of her time by involving other things they knew of into the story.
Overall, Uncle Tom’s Cabin was well written, organized, and historically accurate. Harriet Beecher Stowe used her knowledge of the past to write a clear argument for the abolition of slavery, by creating an interesting enough book to get her ideas to the common people. Her book was influential because it not only told her ideas, but because it states her ideas understandably, something not all writers are able to do. The entire theme of the book is about the evils of slavery; it was written to try to motivate people to eliminate it. Stowe is defiant and certain that slavery must not be slowly eliminated, but must stop immediately.