Step to Justice in Uncle Tom’s Cabin by H. Beecher Essay (Critical Writing)
Updated: Jun 19th, 2020
Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin is one of the most significant fictional sources on slavery in the nineteenth century. The book serves as an account of slaves’ hardships as well as the way white people treated them and slavery in general. The author’s central thesis is that a person can never feel he/she has a right to treat people as slaves. The author stresses that slavery is immoral and cannot exist in the Christian world with its principles of freedom, equality, brotherhood and compassion. One of the characters of the book talking about Christianity emphasizes
I think no man can consistently profess it without throwing the whole weight of his being against this monstrous system of injustice that lies at the foundation of all our society… I confess that the apathy of religious people on this subject… filled me with horror. (Stowe 266)
Of course, the author tries to draw people’s attention to the wrongs of the society which declares equality and Christian values but keeps selling people and treating them in an inhumane way. The book provides insights into slaves’ and slaveholders’ lives and serves as an eye-opening account for those who try to be righteous Christians and want to make a difference.
It is necessary to note that the book is a piece of fictional writing and it is aimed at evoking readers’ emotions and make them think about the society and its cruelties. Clearly, such source does not require reference to specific statistical data as it is not a research of the issue as it is an account about different people and their attitudes and experiences. However, the author did not make up all the facts and characters. She based her story on real people’s accounts. First of all, Stowe used the stories told by former slaves in their books. She also had a number of interviews with different people and those true stories and memories were reflected in her famous book.
It is possible to state that this kind of methodology is efficient for the book. A novel does not need dry numbers or percentage. However, any novel wins from the use of true stories as these fats make the book more relevant. Readers understand that lots of events depicted in the book are not figments of imagination but things which actually took place. The use of real stories makes the novel more evocative and leads to a heated debate among readers.
It is necessary to note that the author’s ideas revealed in the book show that she is an ardent supporter of slavery abolitionists. She depicts people involved in selling and hunting for slaves as immoral and disgraceful people. She also expresses her abolitionist views with the help of characters who try to fight against the societal norms and who are often rightful Christians and deserving people. Importantly, even when it seems that the author simply puts words into her character’s mouth, it is clear that she disapproves what is being told. This disapproval is decoded with the help of certain key words. For instance, the author is against hunting and making slaves return to their cruel masters. One of such cruel hunters says,
So they mustered out a party of some six or seven, with guns and dogs, for the hunt. People, you know, can get up just as much enthusiasm in hunting a man as a deer, if is only customary; in fact, I got little excited myself. (Stowe 199)
Clearly, cruelty of the hunters is revealed when a human being is compared to an animal which is seen as a target of cruel fun. More so, the author stresses that the society creates premises for such immoral acts by including the word ‘customary’. Obviously, such hunting is condemned.
At the same time, Stowe is repeatedly stressing that Christianity is the way to stop people’s sufferings and injustice. The author believes that Christian values will still help the American society become truly democratic. The author claims
But the heart of the dominant race, who have been her conquerors, her hard masters, has at length been turned towards her in mercy; and it has been seen how far nobler it is in nations to protect the feeble than to oppress them. Thanks be to God, the world has at last outlived the slave trade! (Stowe 1)
Clearly, the author has a strong hope that Christian values will make the society better as people managed to stop slave trade. This is seen as the first step which will lead to a better society.
It is also important to note that the book has a strong message to its contemporaries and other generations. The value and relevance of this message is enhanced by a variety of other works on the matter. The book is in one row with numerous accounts of former slaves’ experiences. Importantly, books written by slaves provide a detailed account of the wrongs of the society and their personal hardships.
Stowe also highlights attitudes towards the problem. The author creates different characters who illustrate opinion which existed at that time. Of course, the book enriches the scope of literature on slavery and abolitionist movement. It is also one of numerous sources for various films made on the topic. It provides bright and realistic characters for cinematography. Each book (and every film) depicting cruelty of the American society during its era of slavery has been a stride towards abolishing of slavery.
Finally, it is necessary to add that the author draws very optimistic conclusions. As has been mentioned above, she concludes that Christian values will help the American society overcome existing wrongs. The entire book is a specific example of the only possible path for Americans. The stories of successful liberation of slaves show that liberation of the rest of slaves is a matter of time. Notably, the protagonist of the book dies and this may seem a pessimistic view on the matter. However, even Tom’s life and death reveal the author’s optimism and respect of those who died. Obviously, the author shows that every death of a slave (and especially the death of such devout Christian as Tom) was not a vain sacrifice as Americans became inspired and more and more people started their fight against slavery.
The author turned out to be right and her conclusions have become reality. I believe it was really hard to be such an optimist in the middle of the nineteenth century. However, I also think slavery had no chance in the American Christian and industrialized society of the 19th century. It was doomed as Christian values would make people acknowledge the wrongs of their lives and would make them create a better society based on such values as equality and justice, though there are still loads of issues to be addressed.
Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Piscataway, NJ: Courier Dover Publications, 2013. Print.
This critical writing on Step to Justice in Uncle Tom’s Cabin by H. Beecher was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
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