Uncle Tom's Cabin

Topics: Slavery in the United States, American Civil War, Uncle Tom's Cabin Pages: 5 (1874 words) Published: November 23, 2008
Rarely does a one work of literature change a society or start it down the road to cataclysmic controversy.  One such work is Harriet Beecher Stowe's, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  Considered by many, one the most influential American works of fiction ever published.  Uncle Tom’s Cabin contracts many different attitudes that Southerners as well as Northerners shared towards slavery. It shows the evils and cruelties of slavery and the cruelty, in particular how masters treat their slaves and how families are torn apart because of slavery. Before the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, information regarding the evils of slavery and the treatment of slaves was not readily available. Uncle Tom’s Cabin succeeded where other anti-slavery publications had failed. Uncle Tom’s Cabin made a deep emotional impact and humanized the slave, moving the slave to a level where their thoughts and feeling were comparable to any other member of the human race.

The impact of Uncle Tom’s Cabin did more to provoke angry rebuttals in the South and arouse anti-slavery sentiment in the North than any other event in the slavery era. The publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, together with the Fugitive Slave Act, changed the Northerners disconnected view of slavery forever.  Slavery was no longer a Southern issue that had no impact on the life of those above the Ohio River. Differing views about the ritual of slavery contributed to the growing division between the North and South, and this separation came to be known as the American Civil War. 

The response to Uncle Tom’s Cabin during the nineteenth-century greatly conflict between American groups. In this paper, I will be analyzing the response and reactions of African Americans, White Northerners, and White Southerners to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s famous novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Among the three groups of Americans that are being investigated; no other group had greater objection and dissatisfaction for Uncle Tom’s Cabin then the White Southerners. White Southerners were outraged, and declared the work to be criminal, slanderous, and utterly false. An unknown white Southerner author describes Stowe’s novel as a caricature of slavery. “It selects for description the most odious features of slavery—the escape and pursuit of fugitive slaves, the sale and separation of domestic slaves, the separation of husbands and wives, parents and children, brothers and sisters. It portrays the slaves of the story as more moral, intelligent, courageous, elegant and beautiful than their masters and mistresses; and where it concedes any of these qualities to the whites, it is to such only as are, even though slaveholders, opposed to slavery. Those in favor of slavery are slave-traders, slave-catchers, and the most weak, depraved, cruel and malignant of beings and demons.” (Unknown Author)

According to Stowe, her main goal in writing Uncle Tom’s Cabin was to convince her Northern readership of the necessity of ending slavery. Her radical position on race relations created, according to White Southerners, a miserable misrepresentation of slavery. An example of misrepresentation from Uncle Tom’s Cabin is that it is a habit of Southern masters to offer a reward with the alternative of "dead or alive," for their fugitive slaves, and the other, that it is usual for pursuers to shoot them. “Marks had got from his pocket a greasy pocketbook, and taking a long paper from thence, he sat down, and fixing his keen black eyes on it, began mumbling over its contents: 'Barnes—Shelby County—boy Jim, three hundred dollars for him, dead or alive… I'll manage that ar; they 's young in the business, and must spect to work cheap,' said Marks, as he continued to read. 'Ther's three on 'em easy cases, 'cause all you've got to do is to shoot 'em, or swear they is shot; they couldn't, of course, charge much for that…'" (Stowe, 106)

As you can see above, we are led to infer that shooting is the easier...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Uncle Tom's Cabin Essay
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin Essay
  • Essay about Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin: A Review
  • Uncle Tom Cabin Essay
  • Essay about Uncle Tom's Impact on 19th Century America
  • Uncle Toms Cabin Essay
  • Critical Reflection of Uncle Tom’s Cabin Essay
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin: St. Clare Analysis Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free