Comparing Uncle Tom's Cabin and The Mill on the Floss Essay examples

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George Sand wrote of Stowe's style in Uncle Tom's Cabin, "We should feel that genius is heart, that power is faith, that talent is sincerity, and finally, success is sympathy" (Fields, Ed., 154). Faith, sincerity, and sympathy are indeed the overarching narrative tones Stowe strikes in the novel and are the feelings she wishes to awaken in her readers. Sympathy is likewise what Eliot wishes to stir in her readers in relating Maggie Tulliver's tragic life. Both Uncle Tom's Cabin and The Mill on the Floss utilize religious themes to accomplish these aims. Each points out the hypocrisy of conventional religious sentiments, highlights sincere religious sentiments within a few select individuals, and compares its suffering …show more content…
George Eliot also deals with themes of morality and religious sensibility in The Mill on the Floss. Narrow and unimaginative morality is contrasted with wide-ranging fellow-feelings of sympathy and compassion, the latter being the truer expression of Christian teaching. Eliot believed that a "large sympathy" beyond egoism was indispensible to moral growth, therefore the individual must develop within the confines of duty to his/her community (Jones, 59). Through her choices, Maggie Tulliver, like Uncle Tom, represents an ideal of Christian suffering and passive transcendence. And, like Uncle Tom's Cabin, Eliot's novel is both an indictment of moral hypocrisy and inaction and an affirmation of the redemptive power of patient endurance. Religious authority is presented in many guises in Uncle Tom's Cabin in order to contrast real religious feeling with the hypocritical forms of religious sentiment. Mrs. Shelby evinces real Christian virtue and understanding when she exclaims upon learning of her husband's intention to sell Tom and Eliza's son, "I was a fool to think that I could make anything good out of such a deadly evil. It is a sin to hold a slave under laws like ours...I never thought that slavery was right" (33). Yet she is impotent in changing the system or even affecting her husband's actions. She is subject to the system herself

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