Critical Analysis Of 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'?

1289 Words 6 Pages
Jane Tompkins’ essay, Sentimental Power, offers the reader a brash, analytical perspective of the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Tomkins details her thoughts on why Uncle Tom’s Cabin had little impact on feminism, has an unwarranted claim as a sentimentalist classic, and why it is an unrealistic depiction of death relying too heavily on religion. This essay with offer a counter argument to these three topics.
On page two of her essay, Tomkins states that, “Unwittingly or not, so the story goes, they [the female writers] were apologists for an oppressive social order”. It can be argued that Tomkins is offering this critical analysis from a modern perspective without taking into consideration the silent power behind Stowe’s
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The reader can hurt for Aunt Chloe because of the unfortunate circumstance surrounding Tom’s departure. They can see the world through the innocence of a child with Eva and mourn her death. The reader can feel fear for Tom and his future when he is sold to Simon Legree. The story causes emotional pain and regret when Uncle Tom dies just before he has a chance to be saved by George Shelby. As Debra J. Rosenthal states in her article, The Sentimental Appeal to Salvific Paternity in Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Moby-Dick, “Stowe, like other sentimental writers, believed that words could create an atmosphere of sympathetic influence sufficient to sway morality and peacefully activate social change.”
The story offers a society who otherwise may have been completely oblivious to the emotional devastation during a slave’s life an insider 's perspective to what they may have felt, which caused an emotional awakening for many readers. If art and sentimentalism share the purpose of awaking emotions of the person experiencing the literature, Uncle Tom’s Cabin can easily be viewed by many as both art and a great example of
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Tomkins also offers her readers her thoughts on the other deaths throughout the novel, stating, “an unfortunate concession to the age 's fondness for lachrymose scenes”. Though the emotions behind a character’s death may appear trite to one person, it could move another deeply, as any other piece of art would. It should be argued that the “lachrymose” scenes help define the novel as a sentimentalist classic, not reduce it to “an unfortunate concession”. Thomas Chase Hagood supports this idea in his article, "Oh, what a slanderous book": Reading Uncle Tom 's Cabin in the Antebellum South, by stating “Stowe opened the floodgates for open conversations about the pros and cons of slavery - floodgates that decades of American male politicians had struggled to keep shut”. Stowe’s work provided an essential connection between slaves and the rest of the American population, and much of that was accomplished through its ability to conjure empathy in its

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