Uncle Tom's Cabin Analysis Essay

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Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe was published in 1852 when the issue of slavery was at the pinnacle of political tension due to the controversial Fugitive Slave Bill of 1850. This bill was part of the Compromise of 1850 which included five laws designed to preserve the balance of power between the free and slave states. The Compromise of 1850 declared new territory to be free states and eliminated the slave trade, but not slavery itself. However, the Compromise authorized a refined Fugitive Slave Act that enraged Northerners because it required the surrender of runaway slaves, including free blacks accused of being fugitive slaves, and punished those who aided fugitives in any way which eliminated a fugitive’s right for a jury trial. …show more content…
Stowe used Romanticism in her novel as a way to evoke readers’ sympathy and emotion. Romanticism was a literary movement that focused on emotions, imagination and symbolism. Stowe used the Romantic style in her writing as an effective way to counteract the idea held by society in the nineteenth century that African American slaves were incapable of feeling emotions. In Chapter Twelve of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Stowe uses Romanticism to oppose society’s common perception by vividly describing what a slave-auction feels like for Tom, one of the slave protagonists. Stowe begins by depicting a woman for sale who “might have been sixty, but was older than that by hard work and disease, was partially blind, and somewhat crippled with rheumatism.” The reader begins to feel a sense of sympathy from this description alone, and then Stowe continues with, “By her side stood her only remaining son, Albert…the only survivor of a large family, who had been successively sold away from her to a southern market.” Stowe portrays how the mother held on to her son with “shaking hands” and stared with “intense trepidation” at any man who examined her son. Stowe explains how the woman pleaded and begged to be sold with her …show more content…
Allen conveyed that Uncle Tom was “a good soul…and perfectly pious” but was angered that he showed no resistance to the tyrant, Simon Legree. When Tom is ordered to flog another slave, he responds to Legree by saying, “Mas’r, if you mean to kill me, kill me; but, as to my raising my hand agin any one here, I never shall—I’ll die first!” Soon after, Legree flogged Tom to death for helping another slave. Some readers believed this conveyed that slaves should passively endure their sufferings while waiting for the change of heart by the white majority. However, in Stowe’s defense, if she had written that Tom rose up and rebelled, this would have had a less profound effect on the reader. Stowe’s purpose was to show the evils of slavery and Tom represented all the honest characteristics an individual could hold, which made readers view him as more than property. If Tom had rebelled, readers may have lost sight of Stowe’s purpose and reflected that all slaves are a threat on the verge of rebellion rather than human beings in need of relief from slavery. Instead, Stowe portrayed Uncle Tom as the vulnerable martyr while Legree brutally beat him, which played on the ultimate sympathy of readers and persuaded them to abhor the slave system. Furthermore, Stowe was not advocating that every

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