Essay about Uncle Tom 's Cabin By Harriet Beecher Stowe

Essay about Uncle Tom 's Cabin By Harriet Beecher Stowe

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Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe is considered by many to be an American classic. It is a strongly anti-slavery novel that focuses on the difficult life of black slaves, such as Uncle Tom, and the many atrocities they endure because of their white masters. One evident theme in the book is the connection between education and progress. George Harris, an intellectual slave who echoes the sentiments of the American Revolution, immediately seeks an education after reuniting with his affluent sister. Education “has always been [his] heart’s desire,” and he views it as a road to liberation and progress (Stowe 459). Throughout the novel, however, Stowe implies that education is necessary not only for socioeconomic advancement, but is also needed to cultivate a true, genuine human being, one who is sympathetic and moral. In fact, Stowe suggests that this is the more important form and aim of education, and it involves both white masters and black slaves, each fulfilling both roles of teacher and student.
In her novel, Stowe illustrates that a slave’s character is partly dependent on the character of their master. For example, the slaves of the Shelby farm are not only good slaves, but they are good people. Their master, Mr. Shelby, “was a fair average kind of man, good natured and kindly, and . . . there had never been a lack of anything which might contribute to the physical comfort of the Negroes on his estate” (19). Mrs. Shelby “was a woman of high class, both intellectually and morally . . . . she added high moral and religious sensibility and principle, carried out with great energy and ability into practical results” (21). Uncle Tom and Eliza, two slaves of the Shelby farm, reflect their masters’ generally good character...


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... with morals and sympathies for their neighbors. This type of learning, however, includes both white masters and black slaves, and no one person is solely a teacher or student. The slaves seem to tend to reflect the morals of their masters, while the masters can also be greatly affected by the characters and personalities of their slaves. Ultimately, Stowe suggests that the highest aim of education is to learn to be truly human and that humanity is responsible for each other. If one individual educated in this way, like Tom, can affect so many people, then how would society be affected if an entire community learned to be truly human? Stowe seems to imply that society would change for the better. Citizens would come to recognize that an institution like slavery is evil and needs to be abolished because slavery does not contribute to the making of a moral individual.

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