Uncle Tom's Cabin: St. Clare Analysis

Topics: Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe, American Civil War Pages: 2 (744 words) Published: January 11, 2013
Uncle Tom’s Cabin Essay
True freedom of thought is being able to observe, ponder, and draw one’s own conclusions unaffected from other situations, whether what one thinks is aligned with the law of the land or not. Such unrestrained thinking was especially hard to apply for people during the time of Harriet Beecher Stowe, when the slavery issue prevalent in America. Then there is freedom of action—the ability to act and do whatever one desires. These two elements of freedom are interconnected, as freedom of thought influences the how an individual uses his/her freedom of action, and also vice-versa, as one’s past experiences also help shape one’s thought. By looking at the character of Augustine St. Clare in Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, we will be able to see that even though restricted freedom of thought consequently leads to more confined actions, a drastic event can change both the freedom of thought and freedom of actions of a person.

Augustine St. Clare is an intelligent gentleman from a wealthy background, who is able to see the evils of slavery, but tries to ignore and block such thoughts. Such restrictions of his own freedom of thought was caused by St. Clare’s past experiences of his mother’s early death and his failed first romance, after which he started closing up emotionally and morally to some extent. Although Mr. St. Clare does not become a ruthless slave owner who beats slaves, he avoids thoughts on the slavery issue, so that he won’t feel compelled to support the abolitionists. Moreover, Mr. St. Clare chooses not to get involved in Christianity because he has an “instinctive view of the extent of the requirements of Christianity… from what he felt would be the exactions of his own conscience, if he once did resolve to assume them.” (Stowe, P. 347) Deep down, St. Clare knows that Christianity holds compelling truths, which point at how slavery is wrong; however, he is afraid of what he will have to sacrifice if he took action against...
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