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Autor: anton • November 26, 2010 • 1,563 Words (7 Pages) • 427 Views
Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin in order to help bring the plight of southern slave workers into the spotlight in the north, aiding in its abolitionist movement.
Harriet Beecher Stowe, in her work Uncle Tom's Cabin, portrayed slaves as being the most morally correct beings, often times un-humanistically so, while also portraying many whites and slave-owners to be morally wrong in most situations. Stowe created a definite distinction between the morality of slaves and their sympathizers, and those opposed to the abolitionist movement.
The foremost example of the contrast between the slaves and those portrayed as being evil rested in the character of Uncle Tom. A devout Christian, Tom never lost sight of his convictions, staying true to his Christian beliefs until his death. Even when under the harshest conditions, Tom never lost faith, while praying to God and finding ways to keep his faith. After succumbing to the wrath of Simon Legree, Tom was viewed as a martyr by withstanding his doubts and staying firm in his beliefs, ending his own life, while saving those of two others.
The prime example of the group opposed to the idea of abolition was Simon Legree, a Louisiana cotton-plantation owner that brutally beat his slaves, who in nearly all situations, did not deserve the beatings issued. Legree believed in working his slaves until death, and then replacing them, in order to maximize his profit output, his primary goal.
Shelby's decision to sell Tom and Eliza's son, Harry while Tom was educating Shelby's son in Christianity showed Shelby's true intentions and morals. Shelby calmly enjoyed a cigar with Mr. Haley while signing away the lives of two individuals. Shelby's wife, Emily, however, greatly detested slavery and was incredibly distraught at the news, trying everything in her power to alter the decision. Upon hearing of Shelby's plans, Eliza decided to run for the sake of her child, while Tom decided not to. Neither of the two slaves made the decision out of concern for their own welfare, with both risking their safety in their respective choices.
Many of Shelby's slaves on the plantation also risked their safety in accordance to assist Eliza and Harry. While retrieving the horse to be ridden by Mr. Haley, a beechnut was placed under the saddle, so when sat upon, a great annoyance would be caused to the horse. The two slaves assigned to aid Haley in his search also did their part to help the fleeing mother and child by leading him across stray paths that they didn't think Eliza and Harry would have traveled. Through this aid, Eliza was able to cross the half-frozen Ohio River to safety from the search party, and seek shelter in the home of Senator Bird. Upon Haley's lost opportunity at capturing the pair, he resorts to the drastic measure of hiring a slave hunter named Loker, who sets out on his quest to capture his bounty.
Meanwhile, Tom was taken from his home by Haley, after telling his wife to trust in God and to never lose faith. Tom was led away by Haley in handcuffs, an act which wasn't required, but was done by Haley out of his dislike toward slaves. Along the way, Tom is forced to sleep in a jail cell in an overnight stay, an act which shamed the dignity of this honest and abiding man, before boarding a ship to be taken to the slave market.
On this boat, Tom met a little girl named Eva, and the two quickly became friends. One day aboard the ship, Eva fell overboard, and Tom spared no thought at leaping over to save her. This great deed proved Tom's good moral qualities, and led Eva's father, Augustine St. Clare, a man that showed compassion towards slaves, to buy him. Marie, Augustine's wife, however, disproved heavily of allowing slaves to have many rights, and complained of them being selfish creatures. Eva was nearly the opposite of her mother, nearly mirroring Tom's morals with her caring, understanding, and not discriminatory to others, showing equal love to all. Tom didn't keep his beliefs to himself, as he attempted to help St. Clare battle his addiction to the "demon drink" of alcohol. A similar method of help was also extended to Prue, a slave selling hot rolls, although she did not heed the advice, and was whipped to death by her master, which greatly discouraged Tom.
Meanwhile on Mr. Shelby's farm, a letter received by Tom's wife from Tom brought about strong feelings from Mrs. Shelby and Tom's wife to attempt to buy back Tom, despite Mr. Shelby's gaining debts. During a visit from St. Clare's brother, Eva and Henrique, the son of St. Clare's brother, enjoyed playing together, until Henrique struck one of his slaves, alleging that the horse was dusty. Eva asked Henrique why he would do such an awful act, and Henrique responded with unknowingness, giving the slave money to buy candy, and promising to be kinder to his slaves at her request. Eva's health, though, soon faded.