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One of the more powerful novels writeen on the most humilating chapter of American history was Uncle Tom's Cabin. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote this novel during the civil war time period. The Civil War has been described as "America's darkest hour". Slavery, abuse, neglect, and ignorance ran rapid throughout this age. Stowe depicts all of these traits in Uncle Tom's Cabin.
The story begins with Mr. Shelby discussing with Mr. Haley the selling of his servants to repay his debts. During this time, the country was in poor economic growth secondary to the buying and selling fof slaves. Mr. Haley talks openly of beating the slaves when they are disobedient. Mr. Haley also appears to consider himself superior to slaves. Mr. Shelby considers himself good to his servants. He provides clothing, religion, and some freedom as long as his needs are met. Mrs. Shelby also appears this way. Tom is the Shelby's most trusted servant. He is a Christian and thus read the Bible to other slave families and tries to convert other slaves to Christianity. Religion is very important to Tom, it is what makes his life. Eliza is Mrs. Shelby's trusted servant. Eliza overhears Mr. Shelby and Mr. Haley of plans for her son and Tom to be sold for debts. She runs away taking her sons with her with Mr. Haley to follow behind. She eventually makes it to Canada to her freedom.
Tom is sold numerous times. He is sold to St. Clare's through an auction after saving a little girl's life on a board ship after she slips and falls overboard. The little girl, Eva, is percieved as an angel. She sees good in everyone. Topsy is introducing during this time. Topsy is the wild child. The story tells of how many slaves babies were taken after birth and sold in markets. As these children grew up they were forced to live without love, only knowing work, beatings, and no love for themselves. When adult slaves were sold, they were taken to "open markets". They were checked from top to bottom. People looked in there mouths - good teeth symbolized strong bodies. Topsy in this manner represents a child that grew up in this manner. She is noted as saying she was never born,and didn't have a mother.
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Tom is promised his freedom by Mr. St. Clare but before Mr. St. Clare can complete the paper work, He is killed. Once again, Tom is sold in the market. This time he bought by one of the most cruel plantaion owner named Legree. Legree is an alcoholic who eventually beats Tom to death in a drunken rage. Other slaves on the plantation witness this beating. Meanwhile Mr. Shelby's young son, george, has been looking for Tom and tracks him down to the Legree plantation just in time to talk with tom one last time. Tom is talking of Heaven and how it is better that Kentucky.
Stowe displays character and honor within Tom. He is always obeident to his Master and to God.
Harriett Beecher Stowe states in her concluding remarks that she has given only "a faint shadow, a dim picture, of the anguis and despair that are at his very moment, riving thousand of hearts, shattering thousands of families, and driving a helpless and sensitive race to frenzy and dispair." Abraham Lincoln stated to Ms. Stowe "she was the little lady who started this great big war".. This powerful novel is only describing how slavery and abuse were America's sin.