Uncle Tom’s Cabin By Harriet Beecher Stowe 1852 video clip
The Author • Harriet Beecher Stowe • Daughter of an eminent New England preacher • Involved in religious movements, feminist causes, and abolition throughout her life • Grew up in the Northeast but lived in Cincinnati, Ohio for a short time • Book based on her experiences and also her research conducted from Frederick Douglass and the servants who were former slaves
Why was it written? • Written in response to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 • Main goal of Uncle Tom’s Cabin: to convince Northerners of the necessity of ending slavery. • Stowe had a large following; book was aimed at those Northerners • First published in episodes in the National Era in 1851 and 1852 (put in novel form in 1852)
The Book’s Success • UTC sold 10,000 copies in the first week • It sold 300,000 copies by the end of the year • Printed in various languages • Written and performed as a play – spread throughout the entire North • Publication/Sale banned in many Southern states • Southern reaction!?! • Said book was a false portrayal of slavery
Characters • Uncle Tom – main character, good and pious man • Mr. Shelby – Tom’s first master, sells Tom and Harry to pay off his debts • Simon Legree- Tom’s 3rd master, cruel • Eliza Harris – Mrs. Shelby’s maid; escaped when Mr. Shelby said he was going to sell Harry (crosses Ohio river to freedom) • Harry - George and Eliza’s son; sold by Mr. Shelby
The Plot • The book explores the different aspects of slavery exposing the evils of even the “kind” masters • Uncle Tom is a slave who starts out on Mr. Shelby’s plantation • He is sold twice • Follows his experiences with 3 masters
The Plot – Eliza’s Escape • Mr. Shelby • Forced to sell Eliza’s son Harry even though Mrs. Shelby promised never to separate them • Eliza overhears this and runs away with Harry • Eliza and Harry escape and make it across the Ohio River (on ice chunks) • They are helped by Quaker abolitionists and reunite with George (Eliza’s husband) • They all make it to Canada!
The Plot – Tom’s 1st Master • Mr. Shelby • Treated Tom well; Tom lives with his wife and children • Mr. Shelby sees the evil of slavery but condones it and practices it • Sold Tom to pay off his debts • Eliza warns Tom that he is to be sold but he refuses to escape • His son vows to free Tom
The Plot – Tom’s 2nd Master • Augustine St. Clare • Tom’s second master in New Orleans • Purchased Tom because he saved his daughter from drowning in the Mississippi River • Also sees the evil of slavery but tolerates and practices it
The Plot – Tom’s 3rd Master • Simon Legree • Ruthlessly evil • Louisiana Plantation • Fosters violence and hatred among his slaves • Abuses his slaves (Cassy and Emmeline run away) • Eventually kills Tom because he refuses to tell Legree where Cassy and Emmiline ran off to
To Sum it all up • Novel exposed many sides of slavery • Showed the evils of even the “kind” masters who treated their slave well • Showed families fighting to stay together • Although Tom never attempts to escape, he rebels by keeping his faith • Deep religious values impel him to love everyone and selflessly endure trials • “no one can buy my soul” Legree tries to “break” Tom • Reactions? • How did the North react? • How did the South react?