Uncle Toms Cabin
The Portrayal of Methodism and its Role in the Novel
While lying on her death bed, in Chapter 26 of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, little Eva says to the servants in her house who have gathered around her, “You must remember that each one of you can become angels” (418). In this chapter and the one before it, Eva has actively worked to make the people surrounding her into “angels,” taken here to mean one who is saved by God. In chapters 33 and 34 of Stowe’s book, Tom similarly works, though more quietly, to turn the other slaves at Simon Legree’s plantation into “angels.” Both of these scenes, and particularly the evangelical characters within them, reveal Stowe’s Methodist theology, a theology that rejects the predestination of earlier American Christianity. In Stowe’s theology “each one” of the people can be saved; God’s love is universal. Original sin still exists, but now an individual is given control to escape this sin by embracing God’s love. At the heart of the theology and the resultant morality that Tom and Eva evince, is a warm, knowable God, who is knowable through love, and the heart.
Eva is the most explicit in explaining the dynamic between God and his people. She explains this by asking Topsy, “don’t you know that Jesus loves all alike? He is just as willing to love you, as me” (412). Earlier in the book Tom had asked a similar question to a downtrodden woman on the boat with him: “Han’t nobody never telled ye how the Lord Jesus loved ye, and died for you?” (324). God offers everyone this love, but it can only be claimed by loving God in return. Eva pleads with the people around her that they should, “pray every day,” (419) so that they can find God as she has.
The way that Tom and Eva bring others to see this caring God is by acting in the same fashion as God?by loving the people around them in the same way that Jesus did. When Eva draws all of the house servants together, in an effort to convince them all to become “angels,” the first thing that she says is, “I sent for you all, my dear friends, because I love you. I love you all” (418). Like Jesus, Eva goes beyond just telling them of love, she acts upon this love by giving each servant a lock of her hair. In this act she symbolically gives of herself (her hair). While Tom is less explicit in his vocalization of love, he is somewhat more apparent than Eva in his acting out of this love. When Tom and the other slaves are in Legree’s fields, Tom, “at the risk of all that he might suffer, [came] forward again, and put all the cotton in his sack into the woman’s” (503). By giving up his own cotton Tom shows a willingness to suffer at the end of the day, when the cotton is weighed, so that the woman, Emmeline, does not have to. Tom’s thoughtless willingness to suffer so that others do not have to, makes clear the similarity between the love that Tom and Eva give, and the love that God, through Jesus, gives.
When Tom and Eva give in this way, they inspire the people around them to also give. For the first few months in the St. Clare household Topsy does little other than turn everything into her own?she takes. Miss Ophelia tells of how Topsy stole her “bonnet-trimming, and cut it all to pieces to make dolls’ jackets!” (407). But then Eva tells Topsy something that Topsy has never heard before, “O, Topsy, poor child, I love you” (409). Topsy begins to cry, and in the next few days, she immediately shows a desire to give back to Eva. A few days later Topsy brings flowers for Eva from the garden, and Eva tells her mother, “You see, mamma, I knew poor Topsy wanted to do something for me” (414). It seems that once one sees that the world can be a loving place, people like Topsy can identify a loving force behind that world. Even by watching Eva deal with Topsy, Miss Ophelia tells Topsy that, “I’ve learnt something of the love of Christ from her” (432).
This loving force is thus transformative. Eva tells Topsy that if Topsy is able to love God, “He will help you to be good” (410). Before Eva causes this change in Topsy, Topsy, when asked why she behaves so badly, says, “Spects it’s my wicked heart” (408). When her behavior begins to improve after Eva reveals love to her, it is certain that her heart has been changed too. As in Calvinist theology, God’s grace transforms individuals from the inside out, but in Methodist theology, the individual can seek out God by learning how to love.
These acts of love become the central element of the Methodist theology. Many of the means that dominated earlier theology are shown to be far less important than these acts of the heart. Miss Opelia attempts to convert Topsy by teaching her from the Bible; she says, “I’ve taught and taught; I’ve talked till I’m tired” (407). But as St. Clare says a few moments later, “your Gospel is not strong enough to save one heathen child” (408). The Bible is certainly not rejected as a source of truth?Tom takes great assurance from the Bible?but Gospel, and training in the Gospel is not truly helpful in saving people. The clergy is not even mentioned in these chapters of conversion. It is people like Eva and Tom, who are schooled in the way of the heart, who are able to help people reach God.
Eva, the one who is able to show others such love, first learned about love in her own family. While her mother is not the nurturing mother that could be hoped for, her father fills the caring role. St. Clare loves Eva so much that he is sent into lifeless despondency when Eva dies. Cassy, similarly, tells Tom how she learned of love in her own childhood with a mother an father who nurtured her and allowed her to “play hide-and-go-seek, under the orange-trees, with my brothers and sisters” (516). In these days, Cassy remembers that she “used to love God and prayer” (522). The love of the family is the essential source of love in Stowe’s theology. When St. Clare finally gains his peace with God, it is accompanied by an image of his caring mother before him (456).
But just as convincing as these examples of a family giving someone access to love, are those examples where a lack of family deprives someone of an understanding of love. Topsy’s inability to love stems from her belief that, “can’t nobody love niggers.” Moments later, Eva implies that this belief makes sense given that Topsy never had “any father, or mother, or friends” (409). While Cassy had understood love at a time in the past, she lost it when she lost her family. It is the moment when her children are sold that she first, “cursed God and man” (519). She loses her love of God and humanity because she is stripped of the very source of this love. Cassy’s situation brings to light the important point that just as an individual can gain grace in God’s eyes, so can he or she lose it. But the situation emphasizes the larger point that Cassy’s source of love was her family.
Much of Stowe’s novel is seen as a fierce strike at slavery, but Stowe is strongest in condemning slavery because of its force in breaking up families. Cassy’s story of the breakup of her family is one of the most vividly told. She tells of how her master would taunt her every day by saying, “‘if you don’t behave reasonably, I’ll sell both the children, where you shall never see them again’” (518). We see Stowe narrating these meta-narratives so as to evoke sympathy in the reader for the characters who have been cruelly pulled away from both their families, and their source of religious faith.
Stowe’s book was written soon after the death of her own child, and this traumatic experience was certainly one of the motivations behind the writing of the book. Through the death of her own child, it is probable that Stowe saw the pernicious effects of the breakup of a family, and gained sympathy for the plights of innumerable slaves. In her novel Stowe works to engender that same sense of sympathy in the reader.
Exploring the Gender Roles in the Novel
In considering how Stowe represents gender, it must be foregrounded that men and women inhabited different sectors within nineteenth century American society. Males belonged almost exclusively to a public world of work, whilst females were restricted to a private sphere within the home. Different characteristics that were stereotypically attached to gender- compassion and domesticity in women, and control and chaotic violence in men- can thus be accountable to the different spheres they belonged to. Additionally, we cannot examine how Stowe approaches gender as a singular concept; both masculinity and femininity are challenged through their synthesis with other concepts such as religion and slavery. A person’s gender is thus labelled according to which antithetical sphere their characteristics align most accurately to. Therefore, Stowe does not approach gender biologically, but instead socially in accordance with what is expected of both men and women within society.
Through assumptions within American society of both male and female attributes, Uncle Tom can be seen as “feminine” through not completely fulfilling the expectations of American masculinity. Throughout Uncle Tom’s Cabin Or, Life Among the Lowly, Tom inhabits the world of slavery where the owners are predominantly incapable of religion. Characterisation of behaviour is thus based mainly on gender. Therefore, when Tom displays Christian attributes such as compassion and unconditional love, he can only be described as “feminine” through the source of these emotions being typically female. This expectation of gender is not only contextual, but is constructed within the novel: nurture and guidance stems naturally from female characters such as Eva and Rachel Halliday, whilst little but chaos and harm are caused by the patriarchal influence of Legree and Mr Shelby. Therefore, to examine the construction of gender through Christianity, Tom’s interaction with a male figure must be considered. Despite Legree being possibly the most cruel slave owner, Tom vows that: ““if taking every drop of blood in this poor old body would save your precious soul, I’d give ‘em freely, as the Lord gave his for me.” Whilst a feminine submission seems apparent through ‘[giving]’ physical strength to another, this act is elevated in presenting Tom through a religious context. In sacrificing himself for the sake of believing all souls are ‘precious’ despite their sinning, it aligns him with Jesus; his behaviour is therefore not submissive specifically to Legree but heroic for the sake of humanity. Through being forced to submit to life as a slave, it can be argued that Tom has no choice but to exhibit Christian values; either he seeks a higher salvation through showing humanity where Legree is lacking, or submits to a hatred that leaves him damned spiritually as well as physically. Whilst the emotion of compassion can be characterised as female, his sacrifice is physical and so remains predominantly masculine. This suggests a pain and toil that only men would encounter through work and women would not through residing in the home. Therefore, the construction of Tom’s gender is dependent not only upon his personal identity and actions, but the faith of others. Those who remain intrinsically faithless can only attribute his kindness to femininity through a lack of knowledge on Christian values.
Through Stowe’s interaction with wider issues of slavery, the female role is not centred on seeking relationships. Without this pre-occupation of romance and lack of objectification, the presentation of gender within the novel is more flexible. However, women can only show masculine traits through a perversion of their own femininity. Within The Feminization of American Culture, Douglas sees a “continuation of male hegemony in different guises”. Previously, work and home were contained in separate masculine and feminine spheres yet this is complicated through introducing race. Dinah is female in sex yet is unorganised and works without “logic and reason” (Stowe, p.620), characteristics of chaos that are typically representative of masculinity. The kitchen can also act as symbolic of the slave economy, of which Dinah attempts to organise through what: “she called “clarin’ up times,” […] and make the ordinary confusion seven-fold more confounded.” (Stowe, p.315) In attempting to rectify this process of domesticity and instead only producing it as ‘more confounded’, it suggests that the female sphere also needs reform before approaching the faults within the male sphere. However, the focus remains- as it does in slavery- on the results. St Clare cares only for the fact that Dinah “gets you a capital dinner” (Stowe, p.316); this almost identifies Dinah as a slave trader through her preference of chaotic method yet effective results, as slavery similarly produces. Dinah herself, as a purchase, also brings the economic in to the domestic. The expectation of American women was to influence men through being a “wise and appropriate influence” at home. Through placing a lower class of slaves instead in the home, it renders the expectations of the American wife impossible to carry out. Stowe thus inverts gender through presenting a female character that exists within a female world, yet is this ‘continuation of male hegemony’ being essentially a male-invested economic purchase. Yet it must also be questioned whether this lack of femininity is caused by patriarchal influence or an initial lack of femininity in Dinah; whilst she economically belongs to St Clare, she intrinsically lacks a feminine nature embodied by domesticity and organisation.
Stowe’s narration works not only to describe the events, but becomes a self-fashioned “penetrating” voice in itself. Gender roles are therefore inverted through Stowe assuming a voice that can reach all through publication. She also transcends her sphere through topic; Stowe breaches typically masculine topics of slave auctions and violence beyond the household. Once her character’s issues have been resolved as far as possible, she uses the ‘Concluding remarks’ to continue these issues to reality: “But, she asks any person, who knows the world, are such characters common, anywhere?” (Stowe, p.621) Instead of using a first person, she self-consciously places herself within the third, highlighting her gender’s ability to speak publicly where women were usually mute. The reader is also called upon to consider the type of person they are. She seeks for answers only in a specific group, those that ‘[know] the world’, thus suggesting a challenge to look inward on oneself after a novel of examining others. Stowe almost acts like a conscience, re-iterated by Jane P. Tomkins, of whom suggests “the novel functions both as a means of describing the social world and as a means of changing it.” In considering whether characters of “nobility, generosity, and humanity” (Stowe, p.621) are common within humanity, it once again encourages readers to consider themselves. This suggests an intended readership of those who also display “feminine” characteristics; through this, the slaves Stowe gives a voice to can be approached with sympathy. However, it can be argued that her description of the ‘social world’ is purposefully inaccurate. Through the coincidences of two reunions and a future happiness for previous slaves, Stowe presents an idealistic future that can only be achieved through human development in to these said characters. Therefore, a sense of realism is twisted to present possibility beyond reality. To encourage action through words almost suggests Stowe’s narrative as a speech. She thus embodies what would have been recognised as patriarchal control, yet she successfully inverts it through her female voice; she presents the possibility that matriarchy could incur change also.
Despite examining how it is repeatedly constructed and inverted, gender becomes irrelevant within Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Whilst restrictions of gender could dictate the action physically taken against slavery, such as Mrs Shelby being powerless to prevent the sale of Tom, gender becomes irrelevant when considering the morality of the individual. Throughout the novel, Stowe questions how much human progress has been made if men are still enslaved. It is therefore standards of morality that needed to evolve, and this remains independent from which gender predominantly rules society; being female did not automatically denote care and domesticity, as Marie St Clare shows. It is therefore not a solution to displace patriarchy with matriarchy if human nature and morality is arbitrary and not specific to gender.
Beecher Stowe, H., Uncle Tom’s Cabin Or, Life Among the Lowly (Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1986)
Brown, G., Domestic Individualism (University of California Press, Oxford: 1992)
Douglas, A. ‘Introduction’ in Uncle Tom’s Cabin Or, Life Among the Lowly by Harriet Beecher Stowe (Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1986)
Tompkins, J. P., ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Literary History’ in Uncle Tom’s Cabin ed. by Elizabeth Ammons (Norton & Company: London, 1994)
Yellin, J. ‘Doing it Herself: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Woman’s Role in the Slavery Crisis’ in New Essays on Uncle Tom’s Cabin ed. by Eric J. Sundquist (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1986)
 Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin Or, Life Among the Lowly (Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1986) p.583 (All further references are to this edition and will be given parenthetically.)  Douglas, The Feminization of American Culture in Domestic Individualism, Gillian Brown (University of California Press, Oxford: 1992) p.18  Jean Fagan Yellin, ‘Doing it Herself: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Woman’s Role in the Slavery Crisis’ in New Essays on Uncle Tom’s Cabin ed. by Eric J. Sundquist (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1986) p.88  Ann Douglas, ‘Introduction’ in Uncle Tom’s Cabin Or, Life Among the Lowly by Harriet Beecher Stowe (Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1986) p.15  Jane P. Tompkins, ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Literary History’ in Uncle Tom’s Cabin ed. by Elizabeth Ammons (Norton & Company: London, 1994)
Dominant Ideology in the United States
Dominant ideology is the prevalent culture, values, traditions, beliefs, practices, and such in a particular group. Within the structure of society, dominant ideology stands for what majority of the people who make up society uphold as their philosophies, values, beliefs, thoughts, principles, etc. (Dominant Ideology Thesis, 1998) Dominant ideology represents what the people stand for. Moreover, it is not only represented in the observable actions, behavior, and way of thinking of people within a group or society, but is also evident in the material or tangible culture existing within their societal circle.
For instance, the dominant ideology of society may be interpreted and expressed through literature, music, movies, theater, television programs, sport events, and such. The dominant ideology of the United States leans toward the concept of humanism, such that the nation upholds rationality, morality, and the condition of human life as basis for philosophies, values, or belief systems. (Edwords, 1989) Specifically, the dominant ideology of the United States endorses democracy and liberalism, as well as corporate power and capitalism (Bayes, 2005).
Although democracy and liberalism when compared with corporate power and capitalism may be conflicting in several aspects, it still proves to establish what the United States stands for as a nation. The argument of democracy and liberalism as a dominant ideology is the inability of the nation to accomplish it fully (Baves, 2005). Still, inequality exists, and so does prejudice, bias, unfairness and such. However, it does not mean that the non-accomplishment of the dominant ideology makes it invalid for such label.
The nation might uphold the values and beliefs of democracy and liberalism, and corporate power and capitalism, at the same time while failing to accomplish what it means for the nation. The dominant ideologies aforementioned in previous discussions are represented in American literature, music, movies, theater, television programs, and even sports events. The theme of these products of culture always contains hints of democracy, liberalism, corporate power, and capitalism. For instance, the major themes of American literature and theater are the strong advocacy for democracy and liberalism.
“The Crucible” and “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Harriet Beecher Stowe, and such plays and novels are American classic literature that criticizes repression, injustice, and discrimination. Tales of the history of American Indians are also strong forces that build upon the advocacy of American literature and theater for democracy and liberalism. (Major Themes in American Literature, 2008) Themes of American music, movies, and television programs represent liberalism, and in some aspects, corporate power and capitalism.
Liberalism is applied in American music, movies, and television programs because themes or plots could be anything. American artists are more open-minded when it comes to art and expression in properties of media such as music, movies, and television that themes go a long way from conservatism, to rationalism, humanism, to classical, historical, and such. Themes always vary according to artistic interest and inclinations that sets the liberalism as a dominant ideology.
Exhibiting corporate power and capitalism may be observed from the setting of movies, such that most movies, music, and television shows represent in one way or another, the concept of the American dream – which when analyzed deeply represents utopia which symbolizes power and perfection. Sports events also represent the dominant ideology of corporate power and capitalism. Famous American sports such as basketball, American football, and baseball, represent the dominant ideologies of the country. Sports events are capitalistic in nature, such that almost every aspect of it boils down to business.
Americans patronize sporting events, as it is highly advertised to the public. Majority of Americans attend these sporting events, then comes the opportunity for business institutions to make profit from it, by selling tickets, food, props, and such. I believe it is capitalistic in nature because of the strong business context of sporting events. References Bayes, J. (2005). “Democratic Dreams in the United States in the Age of Empire: A Feminist Perspective from the North” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Hilton Hawaiian Village, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Retrieved October 15, 2008, from All Academic Incorporated. Website: http://www. allacademic. com/meta/p70048_index. html Dominant Ideology Thesis. (1998). Retrieved October 15, 2008, from Highbeam Research, Inc. Website: http://www. encyclopedia. com/doc/1O88-dominantideologythesis. html Edwords, F. (1989). What is Humanism? Retrieved October 15, 2008, from the American Humanist Association. Website: http://www. jcn. com/humanism. html Major Themes in American Literature. (2008). Retrieved October 15, 2008, from JHSSAAC. Website: http://school. jhssac. org/Faculty/HrgaI/documents/Summaryofthe5Themes. pdf
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
This paper tends to seek and analyze the character of a certain story into which Uncle Tom’s Cabin is the story chosen. The aim of this paper is to choose one of this story’s characters and discuss him/her as a subject to Bildungsroman. In order to understand this paper, Bildungsroman is said to be a kind of novel or a novel with a youthful character who depicts his growth turning into a matured one. This serves as a book report; character analysis regarding a certain character of a story depicted as a Bildungsroman and narrate his or he dramatically narration of maturing development.
Bildungsroman Depicted by Tom Tom is the protagonist who depicts a Bildungsroman narration in the story Uncle Tom’s Cabin. This is depicted through his maturity growth from being just a slave, thinking like a slave through his development to his belief to Christianity and Christ. Onwards to Tom’s continuous journey in life, he became a devotee as well as a person whom others relied on.
At the end of the story, Tom died but his maturity towards love of God and faith touched the life of all those people around him.
His life is dramatically narrated as full of fleshly pains brought by the cruelty of his last master but still Tom struggled for his faith and held on to it until his very last breathe. At the end, he became a role model of goodness and faith conviction. Uncle Tom’s Cabin Tom as the main character in the story of Uncle Tom’s Cabin is said to be a slave; literally, and by heart, he has no other intention of being something else but is contented with what he is until the day that other slave buyers tended to purchase him from his owner.
This is where his maturity development turns in; from his travel from his former owner, the Shelby; to his purchaser, Mr. Haley (Stowe). Uncle Tom was forced to leave his family and was taken by Mr. Haley into the slave market. This is where he gets to meet a little girl whom he became fond of and eventually became his dearest friend. The incident when Eva accidentally fell to the river was the start when Tom became a part of the St. Clare family, basically for saving the daughter (Stowe).
On and on eventually, Tom is not required to work harder on the household but became a seemingly partner or a devotee of Christianity together with Eva. Tom’s life made another change when the little girl Eva became ill and eventually died. People around the St. Clare family changed and decided to let Tom alone for his freedom. Radically, St. Claire died and Tom was sold to a plantation owner named Legree (Stowe). The new owner of Tom is said to be cruel and evil, he tends to buy slaves and pick one to be his sex slave.
Tom was punished by his evil owner once he did not comply with Legree’s order which is to whip one of the slaves (Stowe). Because of the said action of Tom in which he disobeyed to the command of his owner, he was being beaten up so hard; Legree intended Tom to lose his faith on God by simply making him suffer from the pain that the beating that has done to the latter (Stowe). After he was beaten up, he gets to meet the former sex slave of his owner where he noticed that the lady was being separated from her daughter. Cassy’s child was taken away from her due to slavery (Stowe).
After some time, Tom was changed after the Quakers healed him. In the place of Louisiana, Tom’s beliefs on his faith almost fade away, but still, he counted on and held on to his faith in which he has two different views of (Stowe). Toms Faith is determined by two important inspirations; first is an inspiration of Christ and the second one is an inspiration of Eva. These two said inspirations are the ones who made him courageously and fearless of his experienced torment over the hands of his Evil master Legree (Stowe).
Uncle Tom is the one who eventually encouraged Cassy to seek for her freedom and the latter did obey his suggestion and took Emmeline with her. In this part of the story, Uncle Tom changed another people’s life by simply encouraging them with the help of his faith and stand on Christianity and Christ (Stowe). Legree, noticing about the escape of the two slaves, punished Tom and beat him all the time as for a change because he did not want to tell his master where the two escaped people have gone. On the time that Tom notice that he is near death, he gave forgiveness to all those who have committed sin unto him and died a martyr death (Stowe).
His former owner, Shelby, was too late to buy for his freedom from the cruel master. At the end of the story, all the people whom were a part of Tom’s journey and experiences became happy. They all realized the essence of Tom in their lives and decided to live a life as Tom did to his. Analysis Uncle Tom’s maturity does not pertain particularly to the youthful growth until his old days, but therefore, it pertains to the growth of faith and love which Tom shared with all the people around him; from his very first master until his last master even tough his last owner is cruel to him.
His faith’s intent became stronger and stronger with its conviction as he experienced all the pain that he endured during his life and for that he became more determined with his belief. With the help of Eva and those other people whom he took courage and strength from, Tom continued being a person full of life, hope, and heaven even during being on earth. Works Cited Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom’s Cabin or, Life among the Lowly. Modern Library, 1996.
Huckleberry Finn’s Impact on Modern American Literature
Ernest Hemingway once said “all modern American literature began with Huckleberry Finn. ” Huckleberry Finn, a remarkably well written novel by Mark Twain, has received almost excessive praise since it was written and first published in 1884. On the other hand, it has been condemned for vulgarity and accused of stealing Uncle Tom’s Cabin’s thunder. Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a similar novel about slavery written about thirty-two years earlier. Huckleberry Finn’s impact on modern American literature was so great that it could be compared to Shakespeare’s impact on European theater.
To be the true basis of modern American literature, a novel would have to be centered on American concepts. One of the most prominent American concepts is “the American Dream”. Huckleberry Finn is the first novel to encompass “the American Dream”, chronically many different Americans’ approach to their own American dream, and how they chase it. One instance of this in Huckleberry Finn is when Huck and Jim coincidentally become raft-mates with two swindlers, going about their dream of finding fortune in an illegal and morally wrong way, taking advantage of ladies, children, the elderly and even men.
Twain does a superb job of demonstrating “the American dream” and the consequences of chasing it ruthlessly. Intertwined with the stories of dream chasers is another American concept, a black slave’s mistreatment and his search for his dream, freedom. Although Twain wrote the novel after slavery was abolished, he set it several decades earlier, when slavery was still a fact of life. But even by Twain’s time, things had not necessarily gotten much better for blacks in the South.
In this light, one might read Twain’s depiction of slavery as an allegorical representation of the condition of blacks in the United States, even after the abolition of slavery. This is shown prominently throughout the novel through the co- protagonist, a black slave named Jim, and his adventures and misadventures. A particular instance is when Jim and Huck have been nothing but accommodating to the two swindlers mentioned previously but the swindlers report Jim as a runaway slave and have him captured for monetary gain.
The white swindlers show the unjust, repulsive way that blacks are being treated. Modern American literature is used expertly as a propaganda tool and Huckleberry Finn is one of the first instances of using literature to enlighten the masses about the evils of slavery. Another important contribution that Huckleberry Finn has made to American literature is vernacular speech. This is a key characteristic of American literature and helps to show American regionalism from that time period. Dialogue in the book is directly affected by the race of the speaker and his or her region of origin.
Through Twain’s sometimes inappropriate character speech, a reader feels as if they are truly listening to people talk because of the uncensored feel to the dialogue. Huckleberry Finn has also been under fire for its “straight- talk”, particularly for using racial slurs involving Jim and other slaves. However, Twain’s use of racial slurs ironically helps portray the anti- racist attitude of the book. Opponents to the statement that Huckleberry Finn is the basis for all modern American literature would venture to say that Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe is a more influential novel.
An argument for this is that Uncle Tom’s Cabin came before Huckleberry Finn and showed a more detailed account of the horrors of slavery because the novel was based simply on slavery. While it is correct that Uncle Tom’s Cabin came before Mark Twain’s novel, Huckleberry Finn is the clear winner because of the way Mark Twain subliminally weaves in his view on slavery and is able to lead any reader to understand why slavery is morally wrong, without the reader even realizing it.
While Shakespeare is inarguably the best playwright of all time, Huckleberry Finn takes on a similar title for American literature, though somewhat less grand. Huckleberry Finn is such a prime American work because of its encompassment of American concepts, ability to persuade, subliminal anti-slavery morality, and vernacular language, of which no other American novel before it can also brag, including Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Huckleberry Finn is a novel entirely worthy of the honorable title “basis for all modern American literature”.
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-96) was an American writer born in Litchfield, Connecticut, the daughter of a preacher, Lyman Beecher. Young Harriet grew up in a deeply religious atmosphere. In 1832, she moved with her father to Cincinnati, Ohio where he had charge of a seminary. There she met and married Calvin E. Stowe, a widower and a professor in the school. They had seven children. Cincinnati, just across the Ohio River from Kentucky, was in the very midst of the controversy over slavery.
She sometimes talked to fleeing slaves, and once she even visited a Kentucky plantation whose slaves were used as models for her novel.
In 1850, her husband was called to Bowdoin College and she was happy to be back in the more congenial air of New England. That same year the Fugitive Slave Law was passed. It infuriated the abolitionists, including the Beecher family. This led her to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the novel that was said to have started the Civil War in the United States.
This writer was selected over the other writers because of the great impact her novel made on America’s perception over slavery and the events that followed after its publication. Without doubt, the Civil War would have come in any case.
Just the same, the tremendous moral force of the book made many people, who might otherwise have been lukewarm, take a firm stand against slavery. At current time, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin has been relegated to the list of required reading which made it lose some of its appeal. I thought it would be best to look at the context of its creation and what better way but to look closely at its creator, her background and her influences. There are numerous books and articles that can be found about the life and works of Mrs.
Stowe. I have chosen two to be used as the major references. The first is from Twayne’s United States Authors on Harriet Beecher Stowe, Chapter 1: The Early Years. This chapter detailed the childhood of Harriet and how it was like growing up in the Beecher household ruled by the Calvinist preacher, despot and father, the Reverend Lyman Beecher. Orphaned from their mother at an early age, the Beecher siblings were brought up by their father under a strict Calvinist upbringing. Every day was a religious experience.
He dominated the household with his sternness and terrorized his children with his preaching of damnation and hellfire. He believed in man’s fallibility and sought to remind and humble his children of this fact every chance he got. It was said that “within his home Lyman was a bully of the worst stripe, a benevolently intentioned and systematically complete bully” (“The Early Years,” 1). However, Harriet also suffered from neglect simply because she was female. The patriarch heaped his attention on his sons whom he successfully groomed to become preachers like him.
She, on the other hand, was sent off to Hartford to her sister Catherine who was twelve year her senor, to get an education. Her sister was an impressive intellectual, establishing the Hartford Female Seminary. She was deeply religious and once suffered from near mental collapse because of her fear that her dead fiance will go straight to hell since he was not able to convert before he died. Quite domineering, she badgered Harriet into assisting her which the young girl found unbearable. She stayed with her sister for eight grueling years. Regardless, she was able to travel and mingle with people her own age.
This proved to be her salvation as she was able to form her own beliefs regarding religion that was centered on the mercy of Jesus rather than the certainty of hell. Then the Beecher clan all moved from Boston to Cincinnati as her father accepted the post of president of the Lane Theological Seminary. Now, Harriet had to contend with both her sister with whom she still served as assistant and her father to whom she had to go home. To escape, she turned to writing. She also met the widower Calvin Stowe whose proposal of marriage she accepted.
The only thing they had in common at that time was their shared affection for Eliza, his dead wife. Between 1836 and 1850, she gave birth to eight children. With such a big family, she was bound to the home more than ever. In order to augment the household income, she used her writing skills into a money making venture by submitting magazine sketches. Calvin Stowe’s appointment to the faculty of Bowdoin College which allowed them to move to Brunswick, Maine was a turning point for Harriet. Among others, she was going back to New England and would be free from the grasp of her father and sister.
Her life until then was unremarkable. She was a housewife who was concerned mostly with chores, frustrations and debts. Though she lived in tumultuous times she did not participate in it. This was due to reasons as follows: Her private duties as obedient daughter and wife had demanded almost more energy than she had to give, and she had taken refuge from overwork in the consolation of heavenly love; to mistrust the world, to accept it as the abode of cruelty and injustice, was the philosophy by which she lived (“The Early Years,” 7).
This was about to change with the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the novel which led President Abraham Lincoln to greet her as “the little lady who made this big war. ” This remark was cited from the second reference used for this paper, the article on Harriet Beecher Stowe by Ken Wolf from the Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century. For the first part, he gave a brief account of her early life and for the second part, he concentrated on her life’s work. Uncle Tom’s Cabin first appeared in 1851-52 as a serial in an abolitionist paper.
The anti-slavery sentiments were already at its peak at that time. The Fugitive Slave Law was just passed where all citizens whether they are from the north or south are obliged to return fleeing slaves to their owners or face criminal charges. The disagreements between the abolitionists and moderates were turning physically violent such as pro-slavery mobs attacking abolitionists print shops such as the one in Connecticut near the residence of the Beechers. The publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1852 was indeed timely.
On that year alone, it already sold 300,000 copies. Harriet’s message was clear. Slavery was wrong, the novel argued, because it was un-Christian. More specifically, slavery tore children from their mothers and thus threatened the existence of the Christian family (Wolf, 2). This book was a personal one for the author. All that she believed in were embodied in the novel. She even used the name of Calvin Stowe’s deceased wife and her good friend, Eliza, as the main female character.
While the main protagonist was male, that being Tom who had kindly masters but still got sold off twice and eventually ended up being beaten to death, the novel was filled with strong female characters. A main theme was the recurring circumstance of slavery separating families and the attempts of the slave mothers to prevent it. We see Eliza jumping on ice floes to effect her and her son’s escape. We see Cassy who preferred to kill her newborn herself than allow it to be sold off later. There was Eva who persuaded her father to free Tom, but both unfortunately died before they did.
There was also Mary Bird who ”shamed her husband”, Senator Bird of Ohio into helping Eliza even if he was violating the Fugitive Slave Law which he helped pass. Her novel was most effective in arousing sentiments of anti-slavery because the author approached her arguments using the religious zeal that her father bestowed upon them stressing that “Christianity began at home with a strong family. Any institution that undermined the family was necessarily unchristian” (Wolf, 2). This struck deep at the conscience of the American people.
Her succeeding novels likewise had female characters playing prominent roles. She believed that women are the purveyors or morality. She was not an advocate of female equality and continued not to participate in the suffragists movement or the equal rights for women. She believed in the family and the role women play within it. She also continued to write her novels based on characters she is most familiar with such as Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp (1856) regarding a slave rebellion attempt, The Minister’s Wooing (1859) which was a jab on the inflexible dogma of her father’s Calvinism.
This novel was also partly historical. Her next novel is likewise historical, Agnes of Sorrento (1862) about the Florentian social and religious reformist monk, Gironalo Savonarola. The Pearl of Orr’s Island (1862), Oldtown Folks (1869) and Poganuc People (1878) are childhood reminiscences of New England. Uncle Tom’s Cabin is the only one of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s that aimed at direct reform. Though it sparked a war, as literature, it is not great. It is overly sentimental and the picture it draws is exaggerated.
In spite of these flaws, it remains one of the most powerful novels ever written to right a wrong. Her other novels published after it had none of the appeal of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, but she continued to be one of America’s popular writers at that time. Her other greatest contribution to history was her depiction of women as being in the same level as men in terms of intellect, bravery and morality. She was able to put across her message of empowerment across in a society dominated by men of the importance of women’s and mother’s role in the family and in society as regards moral regeneration.
Before I conducted this research, I was under the impression that Uncle Tom’s Cabin was written more as a reaction against the peculiar institution of slavery. Reading about the life of Harriet Beecher Stowe, it became evident that though her book came out of indignation against slavery, it also owed something to her Puritan conscience. Her belief’s and childhood experiences come across into her books such as her belief on women’s equality which she never did experience having been subjected to neglect because of her gender.
While she persistently believed that the role of women is confined within the walls of the home, she was successful in opening a new perspective of women. Admittedly, I have not read any of her other works however, given her background that I know now, it would be interesting to read The Minister’s Wooing to gain a better idea on how it was to live with a severe Calvinist minister and how and if she was able to relate it to her own experiences in growing up with one and make it comical.
Free States V Slave States
There have always been events in American history that increased tensions between free states and slave states. In the following essay I will go over three events that has caused problems between one other. The Compromise of 1850, Uncle Toms Cabin, and John Brown’s Raid at Harper’s Ferry I have chosen these events because these are the events that stand out to me when tensions between free states and slave states come to mind. The Compromise of 1850 included four laws.
California entered the union as a free state. A stricter Fugitive Slave Law requires that escaped slaves be returned.
Slave trade prohibited in Washington D. C. Popular Sovereignty vote of the people living in the territory. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe was the best selling book of the nineteenth century. This book caused many to oppose slavery. This showed Americans what slavery has done and this book opened up northern eyes against slavery. This caused the Southern to be outraged because now they have to deal with all the negative northern remarks.
The last event is John Brown’s Raid at Harper’s Ferry. In 1859 John Brown led a small group against a federal arsenal.
His plan was to seize the weapons and lead a slave uprising. Even though he was unsuccessful and was also executed he became a Northern hero. This incident increased the distrust that was already between the Southern and the North. In conclusion The Compromise of 1850, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and John Brown’s Raid at Harper’s Ferry are events that rose tensions between free states and slave states. The compromise of 1850 pleased no one. It cause northern in civil disobedience against the Fugitive Slave Law by protesting and helping slaves to reach the safety of Canada.
Uncles Tom’s cabin single handedly opened up peoples mind against slavery. This made people realize how horrible it is to take another mans freedom this caused problems for the slave states because now the free states wanted to get rid of slavery once and for all. John browns attack proved to the northerners anyone can make a difference if they believe slavery is wrong. This also increased Southern distrust of the North. These are the three events that stood out to me there are a lot more but these are the greatest disputes that effected North and South.
Women Characters in Uncle Tom’s Cabin
An aim of this study is to analyze the white women characters in Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and reveal the evil and immorality of slavery at that time. At first, it briefly introduces the historical background of this book and the author. Then it gives the summary and the themes about this novel. It uses the method of contrast and comparison to figure out the similar quality of those women, and the unique feature of them. This paper discusses the characters of four white women in this novel and the relationship between their images and the social background.
Furthermore, this study reveals the power of women’s morality and Christianity. This paper may contribute to the study of American history in 19th century about the slavery and the conflict between northern and southern.
Key words: slavery, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, white women, morality, Christianity
1.1 The historical background of Uncle Tom’s Cabin
During the nineteenth century in western country, women were considered inferior and expected to be submissive to men.
Their place at that time was staying at home raising children, running the household and managing the house servants. The creation of Uncle Tom’s Cabin was in the background of feminist movement and the enacted of the Fugitive Slave Law.(“The Renewal”, 2008 ).
1.2 An introduction to the author
The author of this novel is Harriet Beecher Stowe, who was born in America. The Stowes’ family was not rich, and therefore, Harriet’s life was sometimes conflicted between the necessities of motherhood and writing, or, between vocation and avocation. She eventually bore six children, with whom her writing competed. Stowe chose to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin because her sister-in-law urged her to use her skills to aid the cause of abolition. (Amons, 2003)
1.3 Summary of this novel
Uncle Tom is a slave living in Kentucky. His owner Mr. Shelby has failed in speculation. In order to pay his debt, he sells Tom to a slaver Haley. Along with Tom, Harry (another slave Eliza’s son) is also planned to sell to him. Eliza is not a slave who can be shoved around, so she carries Harry escaping to Canada. Finally, this family successfully arrives in Canada. However Tom’s destiny is another way, he is sold to New Orleans. During the shipping, Tom saves Eva (the slaveholder St. Clare’s daughter) from the river, after that he is bought by St. Clare and becomes a groom in Clare’s family. Before St. Clare decides to liberate his slaves, he has been killed. Then Tom is bought by a ruthless slaver Simon Legree, who always maltreats him. When Mr. Shelby’s son George comes to redeem Tom, he is about to die. After George buries Tom, he liberates all his slaves and says, “Think of your freedom, every time you see Uncle Tom’s cabin.”
1.4 The themes of this novel
The major theme of this novel is the evil and immorality of slavery. Besides, the moral power of women and the redeeming possibilities offered by Christianity are also reflected in this book. Upon meeting Harriet Beecher Stowe for the first time, Abraham Lincoln reportedly said, “So this is the little lady who made this big war.” Big war here means the Civil War in America in 1851. The novel had a profound effect on the attitudes toward African Americans and slavery in the United States that it is believed to have intensified the conflict leading to the civil war. To some extent, the criticism of slavery in this book stimulates the resistance of those lowly people and evokes the sympathy of those kind Christians.
1.4.1 The evil and immorality of slavery
Slavery will always be found, in proportion to the extent and severity with which it prevails, to injure the morals of a people. That it tends to produce haughtiness, a spirit of domination, cruelty, and lewdness, among the whites, appears probable, upon the slightest consideration of the subject, and is abundantly proved by experience Gellman, 2003). The tragedy of Uncle Tom and the ending of Eliza can both reflect the immorality of slavery. The notion that human can be traded is ingrained in people’s mind. From the atrocity of Simon Legree and other slave owners, we can feel the pain of those slaves.
1.4.2 Moral power of women and the impact of Christianity
Another major theme of Uncle Tom’s Cabin is the moral power and sanctity of women. In this novel Mrs. Stowe describes many kindhearted white women. For example, after Mrs. Shelby knows that Eliza has escaped, she says, “The Lord be thanked! I trust she is.”(48). It is evidently that she is so happy that Eliza could no longer suffer the pain of being a slave.
2. Analysis of Emily Shelby’s Image
2.1 Her kindness to slaves
The first woman is Emily Shelby, the hostess of the manor. She was a woman of high class, both intellectually and morally. To that natural magnanimity and generosity of mind which one often marks as characteristic of the women of Kentucky. Although Mr. Shelby does not be religious, he is respect of her belief. Despite Emily’s position at home is lower than her husband, she often shows a lofty conscience. She treats her slaves very well and regards them as her family (Christine,).When her husband sells Tom, she feels shamed for him. And when she hears that Eliza escapes to Canada she feels released. From her mind we can see that she is a kind hearted woman, and her life is full of love. She tries to shape the morals and values of her husband.
2.2 Her obedience in front of her husband
The fact she failed in protecting her slaves from being sold was not due to any weakness on her part, but was a sign of her husband’s incompetence in managing his estate (Canieni, 2010). When she told her husband about her willingness of helping him with the financial affair, Mr. Shelby accused her of not knowing anything of business, and he said: “O, ridiculous, Emily! You are the finest woman in Kentuckey; but still you haven’t sense to know that you don’t understand business;——women never do, and never can.”(UTC, 169).
Because of the inferior status at home, she never argued with her husband. What is more, when she wanted to earn money by teaching music lessons, her husband accused her of degrading herself. Mr, Shelby, to some extent, had the prejudice against women. Whereas, Mrs. Shelby was always obedient to her husband, and in rare cases would she persuade and fight for her rights. Although Mrs. Shelby failed to influence her husband, she succeeded at last by influencing her son.
3. Analysis of Mrs. Bird’s virtuousness and bravery
Mrs. Bird was another example of virtuous woman. She is gentle and cultivated, and also a devout Christian the same as Mrs. Emily. What impresses reader most is the fierce argument with her husband about whether they should help the slaves. When she knows her husband votes for the Fugitive Slave Act she says: “You ought to be shamed John! Poor homeless houseless creatures! It’s a shameful, wicked, abominable law, and I’ll break it, for one, the first time I get chance.” (UTC, p.96) She felt very sympathetic for the slaves, and thought they should not suffer thus pains. When her husband vote the law which forbids giving aid to fugitive slaves,she says, she would never turn away from her door a poor, fleeing slave, and she told to her husband that he would either. It sounds more like an order.
From this kind of behaviour, we can fully feel about her protest of those laws which prejudice against slaves, also the bravery to argue with her husband and express her own idea. Mrs. Bird was as good as her words. She hadsuccessfully persuaded her husband to save the poor Eliza and her son, and finally Mr.Bird made plans to transport the fugitive to a remote place seven mile up creek. Mrs.Birds’ influential over in the anti-slavery movement was great (Canieni, 2010). To a great extent, the love and commiserative feeling is because of her strong belief in Christianity. Compared with Mrs. Shelby, Mrs. Bird is slightly better than her as she has the courage to debate with her husband and finally evokes his conscience.
4. Analysis of Miss Ophelia’s prejudice on black slaves
Miss Ophelia is totally different from the two women mentioned above. She is St. Clare’s cousin from the north who comes to help him manage the household. She is a stouthearted and straightforward northern woman. At first, she found slaves somewhat distasteful and harbors considerable prejudice against them. That is why she felt uncomfortable when St. Clare pulled along an negro girl and asked her to educate the black slave he asked whether she could refuse to teach this black slave, however St. Clare declared again and again: I bought her here for you to educate. Then Miss Ophelia began to teach Topsy but without conveying the spirit of it. Without love, the words are simply meaningless. Because Ophelia has seldom spent time in the presence of slaves, she finds they are very weird.
Once St. Clare asked her to teach a black girl, she begins to have increased contact with slaves. At first, she merely regarded this as a part of her duty. But Stowe suggests that duty alone will not eliminate slavery, abolitionists must act out of love. Actually, she has a strong feeling of moral obligation, and dare to confess the evil of slavery. After educating Topsy, she realized her prejudice on slaves and even could not bear Topsy to touch her. But Eva’s death impacted her a lot and then evoked the moral sense of her. Despite the fact that used to have a subconscious contempt about those black slaves, she is finally aware of the responsibility on her.
5. Analysis of Marie St. Clare’s Characteristics
5.1 A victim under patriarchy
Marie, wife of Augustine St. Clare and mother of the angelic Eva, is a selfish, vain and hard-hearted woman. She is totally a negative image but also the victim of patriarchy. Patriarchy means the rights of male heads of family to control property and family members. Although Marie did not agree the way her husband manages the servants, she had no right to prevent him from doing this. Her perception about slavery is contrary to the tendency of history, however it is exactly the bigotry of slaveholding.
She stayed at home all the time which could not let her to know some advance knowledge, let alone to think independently. Therefore, she began to become more ignorant and superficial. Despite the fact that this woman is somewhat disgusting, it should mainly blame on patriarchy. St. Clare could guarantee the material life of her, but often ignored the spirit life of Marie. So, she could not dispatch her anguish and loneliness and finally became icy and empty
5.2 Her attitudes towards people around her
Marie is completely incapable of human sympathy, especially toward black slaves. When Augustine dies, Marie shows her utter indifference toward the fate of her slaves. She sells them all at the public auction block, despite the fact that it was her daughter’s dying wish and her husband’s intention to free Tom. When Ophelia tries to remind Marie of these obligations, she has a convenient fit of illness (Unknown, 2009). Besides, she injected little care and love into her daughter. She barely notices her daughter’s fatal illness. She’s also reluctant to think hard about anything if it might cause her the slightest inconvenience to do so.
To sum up, some white women in the mid-nineteenth century are deeply affected by the Christianity. So they often show the sympathy and love to those miserable things or people. From this research, we can find that some white women at that time have already sprouted the consciousness of equality of men and women, therefore they are to ask their husband to allow them to help with the plantation finance. Because of their cognition, they not only influenced the people around them but the world by their kindness. In this novel those white women play a vital role in shaping their child’s and husband’s personality, values and beliefs. In Uncle Tom’s Cabin, mothers are the agents of power. It is worth pointing out that the analysis of the white women in this novel is meaningful for the consummation of s humanism and motherly love and the moral values.
Caineni.(2010).Female’s Power in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Retrieved March 30th, 2012 from http://wenku.baidu.com/view/92222428647d27284b7351ac.html
Haug, C. (2009). The Role of Women in Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Parfait, C. (2007). The Publishing History of1 Uncle’s Tom’s Cabin,
Power, E.(2011).Mrs. Stowe and the Women Images in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Retrieved March 30th, 2012 from http://www.doc88.com/p-16112903348.html
Stowe, H,B. (1852). Uncle Tom’s Cabin, 1st edition. London.
Slavery in Gone with the Wind
The most controversial aspect of Gone With the Wind is the film’s depiction of race relations. Though freed from the novel’s positive portrayal of the Ku Klux Klan, Gone With the Wind’s depiction of slavery remains decidedly simplistic. Adopting historian U. B. Phillip’s “plantation school” view of the institution, the film shows slaves as well-treated, blindly cheerful “darkies” loyal to their benevolent masters.
Slaves are portrayed as normal employees, are rewarded with presents like the master’s pocket watch if they’ve been appropriately loyal, and are allowed to scold the young mistress of the house as if they were a part of the family.
Big Sam leaves Tara only when ordered and with extreme reluctance and later saves Scarlett at serious risk to his own life. Although they were rarely acknowledged and there was no talk of pay after their emancipation, the former slaves show no interest in leaving Scarlett.
The slaves who choose to seek their freedom are looked down on, either portrayed as unscrupulous or as gullible pawns of the political parties.
Though this attitude is less sensationalistic than D. W. Griffith’s far more brutal caricatures of slaves in Birth of a Nation, Gone With the Wind’s refusal to acknowledge any of the complex racial issues of either the Reconstruction Era or the 1930s only supports the stereotypes presented in Griffith’s film. More damaging than Gone With the Wind’s simplistic view of slavery, however, is the film’s depiction of all African Americans as stupid and childlike.
Mammy manages to escape the film with her dignity largely intact, but Pork, the only named male house slave, is forced to appear in scene after scene with a wide-eyed, slightly glazed expression on his face. When faced with work duties beyond those he has always performed, he immediately becomes overwhelmed and panics. Big Sam’s grammar is chopped down to an extremely simplistic level, far below even that of the equally uneducated Mammy. The worst example of this negative portrayal is the young house slave Prissy. Perhaps intended as comic relief, Prissy is stupid, squeamish, a liar, and becomes hysterical over the smallest things.
She is a caricature of a woman, a living holdover from the slaveholder’s old claim that African Americans needed to be slaves because they weren’t able to function on their own. Malcolm X notes in his biography the deep shame he felt as a child when he saw Gone With the Wind, specifically citing Butterfly McQueen’s performance as Prissy. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People tried to arrange a boycott of the film by black audiences and, to a lesser extent, black actors. Slavery Slavery in Gone with the Wind is a backdrop to a story that is essentially about other things.
Southern plantation fiction (also known as Anti-Tom literature) from the early 19th century culminating in Gone with the Wind is written from the perspective and values of the slaveholder and tends to present slaves as docile and happy. The slaves depicted in Gone with the Wind are primarily loyal house servants, such as Mammy, Pork and Uncle Peter, and these slaves stay on with their masters even after the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 sets them free. The field slaves, among them the foreman, Big Sam, leave the Tara plantation without any apparent hesitation.
James Stirling, a British writer who visited the Southern United States in 1857, stated there is a distinction between slaves that are house servants and slaves that are field hands in his book, Letters from the Slave States: In judging of the welfare of the slaves, it is necessary to distinguish the different conditions of slavery. The most important distinction, both as regards numbers and its influence on the wellbeing of the slave, is that between house-servants and farm or field-hands. The house-servant is comparatively well off.
A slave narrative by William Wells Brown published in 1847 spoke of the disparity in conditions between the house servant and the field hand: During the time that Mr. Cook was overseer, I was a house servant—a situation preferable to a field hand, as I was better fed, better clothed, and not obliged to rise at the ringing bell, but about an half hour after. I have often laid and heard the crack of the whip, and the screams of the slave.  Of the servants that stayed on at Tara, Scarlett thinks to herself, “There were qualities of loyalty and tirelessness and love in them that no strain could break, no money could buy.
Although the novel is over one thousand pages, Mammy never considers what her life might be like away from Tara.  She recognizes her freedom to come and go as she pleases saying, “Ah is free, Miss Scarlett. You kain sen’ me nowhar Ah doan wanter go,” but Mammy remains duty-bound to “Miss Ellen’s chile”.  Eighteen years prior to the publication of Gone with the Wind, an article titled, “The Old Black Mammy,” written in the Confederate Veteran in 1918, discussed the romanticized view of the mammy character that had been passed on in literature of the South: … or her faithfulness and devotion, she has been immortalized in the literature of the South; so the memory of her will never pass, but live on in the tales that are told of those “dear dead days beyond recall”.  Micki McElya, in her book, Clinging to Mammy, suggests the myth of the faithful slave, in the figure of mammy, lingers because white Americans wish to live in a world where African Americans are not angry over the injustice of slavery.  The best-selling anti-slavery novel from the 19th century is Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, published in 1852.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin is mentioned briefly in Gone with the Wind as being accepted by the Yankees as, “revelation second only to the Bible”.  The enduring interest of both Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Gone with the Wind has resulted in lingering stereotypes of 19th century African American slaves. However, since its publication, Gone with the Wind has become a reference point for subsequent writers about the South, both black and white alike. Slavery in Gone with the Wind is a backdrop to a story that is essentially about other things.
Southern plantation fiction (also known as Anti-Tom literature) from the early 19th century culminating in Gone with the Wind is written from the perspective and values of the slaveholder and tends to present slaves as docile and happy.  The slaves depicted inGone with the Windare primarily loyal house servants, such as Mammy, Pork and Uncle Peter, and these slaves stay on with their masters even after the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 sets them free. The field slaves, among them the foreman, Big Sam, leave the Tara plantation without any apparent hesitation.
James Stirling, a British writer who visited the Southern United States in 1857, stated there is a distinction between slaves that are house servants and slaves that are field hands in his book, Letters from the Slave States: In judging of the welfare of the slaves, it is necessary to distinguish the different conditions of slavery. The most important distinction, both as regards numbers and its influence on the wellbeing of the slave, is that between house-servants and farm or field-hands. The house-servant is comparatively well off.
A slave narrative by William Wells Brown published in 1847 spoke of the disparity in conditions between the house servant and the field hand: During the time that Mr. Cook was overseer, I was a house servant—a situation preferable to a field hand, as I was better fed, better clothed, and not obliged to rise at the ringing bell, but about an half hour after. I have often laid and heard the crack of the whip, and the screams of the slave.  Of the servants that stayed on at Tara, Scarlett thinks to herself, “There were qualities of loyalty and tirelessness and love in them that no strain could break, no money could buy.  Although the novel is over one thousand pages, Mammy never considers what her life might be like away from Tara.
She recognizes her freedom to come and go as she pleases saying, “Ah is free, Miss Scarlett. You kain sen’ me nowhar Ah doan wanter go,” but Mammy remains duty-bound to “Miss Ellen’s chile”.  Eighteen years prior to the publication of Gone with the Wind, an article titled, “The Old Black Mammy,” written in the Confederate Veteran in 1918, discussed the romanticized view of the mammy character that had been passed on in literature of the South: … or her faithfulness and devotion, she has been immortalized in the literature of the South; so the memory of her will never pass, but live on in the tales that are told of those “dear dead days beyond recall”.
Micki McElya, in her book, Clinging to Mammy, suggests the myth of the faithful slave, in the figure of mammy, lingers because white Americans wish to live in a world where African Americans are not angry over the injustice of slavery. 22] The best-selling anti-slavery novel from the 19th century is Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, published in 1852. Uncle Tom’s Cabin is mentioned briefly in Gone with the Wind as being accepted by the Yankees as, “revelation second only to the Bible”.  The enduring interest of both Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Gone with the Wind has resulted in lingering stereotypes of 19th century African American slaves.  However, since its publication, Gone with the Wind has become a reference point for subsequent writers about the South, both black and white alike.
12 years a slave
The movie is based of the life and times of a man named Solomon Northup, who was born a free man in Minerva, New York, in 1808. In the movie, the book, and his life, little is known about his mother, because they never gave her name. However in all three we know of his father, a man named Mint’s, who was originally enslaved to the Northup family from Rhode Island, but he was freed after the family moved to New York.
In the movie, a now young man, you saw that Northup helped his father with farming, chores and even worked as a rafts on the waterways of upstate New
York. He married Anne Hampton, a woman of mixed black, white, and Native American ancestry, on December 25th, 1829. They had three children together. During the sass, Northup became known as an excellent fiddle player. In 1841, two men offered Northup large sums of wages to Join a traveling musical show, but unfortunately soon after he accepted it they drugged him and sold him into slavery! He was sold at auction in New Orleans in 1841.
Now Northup had to serve a number of masters, some of course were brutally cruel and others who were more humane.
After several years of slavery, he met with an outspoken abolitionist from Canada who sent letters to notify Northup family of Northup current situation. A state agent was sent to Louisiana to reclaim Northup as a slave and he was successful through a number of chances. After he was finally declared a free man, Northup pressed charges of kidnapping against the men who had drugged him and sold him, but the length of the trial was dropped because of legal inabilities, and he received nothing for it. Little is known about Northup later life after the trial, but he is said to eave finally passed away in 1863.
Twelve Years a Slave was recorded by David Wilson who is a white lawyer and legislator from New York who claimed to have presented. The story is sometimes believed to have been dedicated to Harriet Beechen Stows and is even said to have introduced another key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Northup book was published in 1853 which was maybe less than a year after he was set free. It sold over 30,000 copies and is therefore not only one of North America’s many slave books, but also one of the most popular ones.