How Did Slavery Depicted In Uncle Tom's Cabin

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In 1852, Uncle Tom's Cabin was written by Harriet Beecher Stowe and provided an insight into how slaves were treated in the south. The shock of her novel was said to have kick-started the Civil War, and further the efforts of abolitionists to the emancipation of slaves in America. While some owners treated their slaves like family and gave them a good life, others worked their slaves to death and replaced them like old shoes. Arthur Shelby, Augustine St. Clare, and Simon Legree were all examples written by Stowe to really showcase the types of relationships between owner and slave. Tom's first owner, Arthur Shelby was respectfully his best owner. The Shelby family were good Christians that treated their slaves with as much respect …show more content…
The first two owners were merciful and good to their slaves and even believed that slavery was inherently bad. Despite feeling bad, it is clear that they still view slaves and black people as inferior; in Arthur Shelby's case, despite proclaiming Tom as 'his favorite, most trusted slave, he still viewed him as less than white, and sold him when it suited his needs. Augustine, in comparison, was similar in that he also held contempt for slavery as an institution. In spite of his contempt, he kept slaves; this makes he and Shelby very similar, in that although they morally disapproved of slavery they kept slaves. They also turned the other way upon seeing mistreatment of slaves, especially the case of Augustine and Marie. To compare apples to oranges, Legree was never concerned with comfort of his owned people. He abused them; he was outlandishly cruel. But it can also be argued that in spite of his cruelness, he still treated Tom better than his other slaves by wanting to elevate his position within the household. When Tom did not do as he wanted, however, Legree responded by beating him mercilessly. All three owners, despite their differing views on slavery, where very much similar in that they owned people; people who they inevitably ended up mistreating, either by means of selling them or actually beating them to death. The irony of the …show more content…
Arthur Shelby was not necessarily against slavery but he did believe that his slaves should be treated well and with respect. He provided his slaves with plenty of food, good shelter, would give them roughly the same treatment as family. At the beginning of the novel, Shelby does indeed have a hard time selling Uncle Tom and Harry; he knows that separating Harry from his mother is wrong and does his best to convince Mr. Haley that he should take Harry's mother with him or opt for another slave. Shelby also is incredibly reluctant to sell Tom, but he does so because Tom is his most valuable slave and he needed to pay off his debts owed to Mr. Haley. Unlike Mr. Shelby, Tom's second owner Augustine St. Clare did not treat his slaves bad but also did not go out of his way to make sure they were comfortable. St. Clare would often turn a blind eye to how the slaves were treated by his wife, Marie. Despite this, St. Clare still obviously felt distaste for slavery; due to his cynical and jaded outlook on life, he cannot fully oppose the situation. Much like a person striving to be vegetarian but being unable and unwilling to give up meat, he is unprincipled and morally lazy. He promises to free the slaves when he dies, but instead keeps them and passes them on to his horrible wife Marie, where they go to general auction (excluding Topsy).

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