Uncle Tom's Cabin

In: English and Literature

Submitted By THEREALONE
Words 628
Pages 3
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe is a unique historical fiction novel which portrays life during the American Civil War. In this story, Harriet Beecher Stowe tells the tale of Uncle Tom, along with several other slaves, and their journey through the wretchedness of slavery. She combines ethics, redemption, religion, and prejudice; and illuminates the hard truths about the sordid business by having characters alleviate or minimize guilt by comparing themselves to slave owners who treat their slaves far worse than they do. Slave owners vary from Mr. Shelby to Augustine St. Clair to Marie St. Clair to Simon Legree. Slave owners like Shelby and St. Clair imagine themselves as moral owners by treating their slaves in a kind, humane and benevolent way that avoids cruelty like flogging. Despite all the arguments used to justify and rationalize slavery, Stowe mounts great evidence to prove the injustice, cruelty, and evil truths of slavery.

Having run up large debts, a Kentucky farmer named Arthur Shelby faces the prospect of losing everything he owns. Though he and his wife, Emily Shelby, have a kindhearted and affectionate relationship with their slaves, Shelby decides to raise money by selling two of his slaves to Mr. Haley, a coarse slave trader. Mr. and Mrs. Shelby value their slaves as faithful employees who deserve respect, civility, and kindness. However, Mr. Shelby views slavery primarily as a business and fails to realize that he is splitting up Tom’s family. Mr. Shelby believes that splitting up a slave family is an inevitable way of life: "Tom'll have another wife, in a year or two; and she had better take up with somebody else." Mr. Shelby knew that separating Tom from his wife was not the morally correct thing to do, however, he sold him anyway out of pure desperation and lack of financial stability. Shelby defends his decision to sell Tom by…...

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