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Uncle Tom's Cabin


or, Life Among the Lowly


The best-selling anti-slavery novel by American author Stowe that fueled the abolitionist cause in the 1850's.

The book opens with Kentucky farmer Arthur Shelby facing the loss of his farm because of debts. Even though he and his wife Emily Shelby believe that they have a benevolent relationship with their slaves, Shelby decides to raise the needed funds by selling two of them--Uncle Tom, a middle-aged man with a wife and children, and Harry, the son of Emily Shelby's maid Eliza--to a slave trader. Emily Shelby is averse to this idea because she had promised her maid that her child would never be sold; Emily's son, George Shelby, hates to see Tom go because he sees the man as his friend and mentor.

Pious old Uncle Tom is sold by his well-intentioned Kentucky owner Mr Shelby in financial straits. He is bought first by the idealistic Augustine St Clare. In his New Orleans house, Uncle Tom makes friends with St Clare's daughter, the saintly Little Eva, and her black friend, the impish Topsy. 'Never was born!' persisted Topsy... 'never had no father, nor mother, nor nothin'. I was raised by a speculator, with lots of others.' Tom is sold to Simon Legree, a Yankee and a brutal cotton plantation owner. Two of his female slaves pretend to escape and go into hiding. Tom will not reveal their whereabouts and Legree beats Tom. A parallel plot centres on Eliza, her child, and her husband George who escape to freedom in Canada using the Underground Railroad. Other important characters are Miss Ophelia St. Clare, a New England spinster, and Marks, the slave catcher. The religiosity of the story and its dubious conclusion, in which most of the survivors disappear back to Africa to become missionaries, contributed to a shift of attitude. 'Uncle Tom' was used pejoratively, meaning white paternalism and black passivity, undue subservience to white people on the part of black people. When modernist critics argued that literature should not aim to effect social change, Stowe's novel was far from their fields of interest. However, in the 1970s Uncle Tom's Cabin, with its strong female characters, started to attract the attention of feminist critics. Stowe's radical Christian vision, based on matriarchal values, now found defenders. Tom's passivity has been compared to Gandhi's strategy of peaceful resistance.

This is a tale of how slavery has affected America. Uncle Tom, an unlearned, pious slave, lives out the Christianity of which his masters are boasting but not living up to. The author, Harriet Beecher Stowe captures the heart of the abolitionists of her day with this captivating story of a black male slave who would rather die than dishonor his heavenly master, God Himself. He is described as profoundly Christian, and he affects positively all the lives around him. He stands as the embodiment of Jesus' beatitudes of Matthew 5. This book is a literary masterpiece that is comparable to da Vinci's Mona Lisa. While many may consider Uncle Tom a Christian hero and martyr, others believe he is a passive and subservient character created from Stowe's romantic racism. The latter claim does not do justice to the book which also chronicles the courageous escape of a noble Black couple and their son who escapes by means of the famous Underground Railroad. Stowes' own life is a testimony to her stand on slavery issues. She was the daughter and wife of abolitionists, and she herself helped many slaves escape their misery. This very book is the product of the stance she took against the legal oppressors of the African race in this country. It is a phenomenal American achievement.--Submitted by Ron Stimphil

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Recent Forum Posts on Uncle Tom's Cabin

help with old Tom's cabin

Hi!!! I am an American literature student from Spain. I have to do an essay about this book. Could anyone help me???I would like all kind of information about this book. especially about the racism in that period and all the effects that the book could supposse. If you could tell me links or anything, it would be great!!! Thanks!!!!:)

Can you help me with Uncle Tom's Cabin?

Hi, I'm about to write a project based on the novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe - Uncle Tom's Cabin, and I'm looking for some themes in the book to analyse. For example I have a question about how different characters view the slavery, and how some of them develop throughout the story. I'm looking for another fact which could be interesting to look at, but I really don't know what... I've thought about religion in the novel, but I'm not sure about what kind of way to look at it at. Anyone who have some suggestions? - Sorry if this isn't the right place to post this at, if not, where then? Is there a good forum for questions like these? Thanks.

Uncle Tom's Cabin

I am currently reading Uncle Tom's Cabin. It is so beautifully written!! I have heard about this book for some time. I thought it was just about the life of a slave and the trials and tribulations they suffered through, but it is so much more than that. It is about a man and his faith in God.....about trying to keep that faith alive when put through unspeakable things. This is the kind of faith I strive for......I love this book!!! Quote: "Ye said the Lord took sides against us, because he lets us be 'bused and knocked round; but ye see what come on his own Son,--the blessed Lord of Glory,--warn't he allays poor? and have we, any on us, yet come so low as he come? The Lord han't forgot us,--I'm sartin o' that ar'. If we suffer with him, we shall also reign, Scripture says: but, if we deny him, he also will deny us. Didn't they all suffer?--the Lord and all his? It tells how they was stoned and sawn asunder, and wandered about in sheep-skins and goat-skins, and was destitute, afflicted, tormented. Sufferin' an't no reason to make us think the Lord's turned agin us; but jest the contrary, if only we hold on to him, and doesn't give up to sin." I know I will read this book again!! I strongly recommend it!!:thumbs_up :thumbs_up :thumbs_up

Uncle Tom's Cabin is fiction

No doubt it is a great novel, and well written, even entertaining, but it is fiction. They are not real people, it didn't happen, and it was written by a lady whose vision came through an abolitionist looking glass. It is not accurate, it is sensationalized, it was written to pull at the heart strings.

Let's Chat About UTC

My brother and I (7th & 8th grades) are reading Uncle Tom's Cabin and would like to invite anyone interested to participate. Thanks!!!


I am feeling blessed to have read this...

What edition is this?

I have this copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin or Life Amoung the Lowly by Harriet Beecher Stowe. It was printed in Philidelphia by the Henry Altemus Company. I have no idea when it was published though. I'm assuming some time between 1898 after Harriet Beecher Stowe died and 1906 (someone named Eloise B. Newman wrote their name and 1906 on the first page that's where I get that from). There is no copy right date in this book though. The book is in decent condition with some wear and tear but none of the pages are missing or ruined. If you know anything about this edition would you let me know. I'm curious to find out more. I've tried to find stuff online but I haven't found any copies with this cover. Dimensions 6 1/4 inches high by 4 inches wide by 1 1/4 inches thick. It has 634 pages.


Would the person who found the book in his/her cornfield, please e-mail me? I would greatly appreciate it. I'm curious about how you came upon the book in your field and where you live. Thank you. LeAnn Wilcox [email protected]

Her Only Book!

This book is written so well that I think that she should have written other books. I think that every body should read this book.

Good Book

I really enjoy the book by Harriet Stowe even though some of the stuff make you think back and realize that you are blessed to live the way you are now and not as someone's slave. But over all I think the movie is great.

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