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Uncle Tom's Cabin is one of those books which is more likely to be cited in anger under the watchful eye of the slave trader when he sees a white girl, Eva, fall Uncle Tom's Cabin, "the tremors of which still affect the relationship between Harriet Beecher Stowe - had already influenced his young mind. UNCLE TOM'S CABIN shares characteristics of three of the most popular Other scenes noted for their emotional appeal include the death scenes of Little Eva and Tom. the river and marriage to Mina, a slave woman on his master's plantation. . Augustine St. Claire represents what Stowe saw as the biggest problem in. Everything you ever wanted to know about Uncle Tom in Uncle Tom's Cabin, written problems with the way Stowe depicts black characters, especially Uncle Tom. idyllic estate, hanging out with little golden-haired Eva and praising Jesus . to read Tom's relationship with Eva as having all those uncomfortable aspects .
It is precisely because of this performance tradition's roots in the ambiguous legacy of black blackface minstrelsy that black performance is viewed with such suspicion and disdain. Issues of identity formation, self-differentiation, object relations, and narcis- sism seem potentially crucial to comprehending how whites who were pre- sumably spectators of lynchings, either first-hand or via the many vivid newspaper accounts, also seemed to derive great satisfaction from the humor- ous spectacles of blacks as blackface performers.
Or were there, in fact, differ- ent audiences for lynchings and blackface? Eric Lott reads white blackface minstrelsy as both love and loathing for blackness Black performance in minstrelsy is the source of a great many images of blacks driven precisely by the notion of a physical and visual inferiority, pre- suming that that which looks different is at once ugly, funny, wrong, and threatening, and that differences in appearance are inextricably connected to all sorts of deficiencies of character and intellect.
Apparently, black middle- class and educated audiences were repelled by blackface minstrelsy, surmising that it was such buffoonish blacks whom whites wanted to lynch and extermi- nate.
But the facts show that the lynching whites were after the uppity blacks, not the old buffoons and blackface performers who presumably "knew their place. Scholars agree that the black blackface minstrels had their largest following among working-class black audiences. Elsewhere I have called for the need for a psychoanalytic reading, or at least a more psychologically sophisticated reading, of African American culture. By this, I am not suggesting the Lacanian-inflected, feminist-influenced interpre- tation of the mechanisms of the gaze for which cinema studies is best known.
While I sometimes greatly admire the performance of this work, it remains far too technically specific, and not visionary enough, since the issue that I am suggesting needs to be pursued is the relationship of people's lives to the sto- ries they tell themselves about themselves. The case of extensive black partici- pation in blackface minstrelsy needs to be accepted and interrogated since it means, it seems to me, that there are crucial aspects to the form that have somehow been overlooked in the haste to condemn it as hopelessly racist, and to erase all memory of it.
The relationship of performances of Uncle Tom's Cabin to blackface min- strelsy is symbiotic, with its dramatization being immediately taken over by minstrelsy, and subsequently by the proliferation of Tom Companies, which were an offshoot of the blackface minstrelsy craze. Infour stage companies were performing the work simultaneously on a daily basis in New York. The frequently comedic slant of these productions contributed to the general idea of race as a kind of mean joke on its object, a joke against which entertainment and cultural discourses continue to react to this day.
Uncle Tom as created by Harriet Beecher Stowe was nothing like the flat stock figure who has come down to us, mostly through the interventions of theatre and film, as a white-identified, elderly and cowardly bootlicker. In Stowe's novel, Uncle Tom is youthful, in the prime of life, the father of sev- eral children, and the adored husband of his wife.
He is large, strong, betrays no trace of cowardice, and there is no question that he hates slavery, and wants more than anything else to be free, although not at any cost. Tom is a deeply religious man who thinks first of others, black or white. Indeed, what enables him to endure his repeated sales and the whippings of Michele Wallace Legree is not his allegiance to white domination, but his willingness to sacri- fice his own personal goals to the greater good of his people, and his religious and spiritualconviction that his reward will be in heaven.Racism racism racism calling somebody Uncle Tom is racist
Today we may read such devotion as a sign of undue humility and self-effacement, but imagine what terror such inner freedom and fearlessnessmust have struck in the heart of the attentive slaveholder. Such determination and conviction, of one kind or another, must have been as necessary to the heroics of those much less her- alded slaves who remained on the plantation, who didn't run away in order to protect others, as they were to such famous runaway slaves and abolitionists as Frederick Douglass and HarrietJacobs.
The plot of Uncle Tom's Cabin suggests that the only alternative to Tom's sale would be to sell off a number of slaves, breaking up a variety of families in the process. Far from being a worthless bootlicker whom the whites take for granted, in a sense, Uncle Tom, as portrayed by Stowe, is the "master"of most situations on the plantations he lives on. His heroism is not the traditional masculine sort but the more ancient and altruisticbrand ofJesus Christ. In a time in which the notion of Christ as black was still far in the distance for most Americans, Stowe's conceptualization of a black Christ seems, in retrospect, revolutionary in the context of American popular culture.
And, indeed, many subsequent productions of Uncle Tom's Cabinsought to mitigate the impact of such a characterization. In regard to theatricalpresentations of the story, such productions were not alone during the early 20th century in their exploration of idealized female mu- lattoes. Idealized mulatto female charactersbegan to appear in blackface min- strelsy almost from the very beginning, although the casts of blackface troupes were all-male, and the mulattoes were played by white cross-dressers,some of whom became famous for their impersonation of women.
Later, one of the in- 5. Universal;cour- In the postbellum period, when black blackface minstrels began to appear, tesy of the Libraryof Con- photos of African American blackface performers in minstrelsy, vaudeville, gress burlesque, and musical theatre show a marked preference for lighter-skinned female performers. In the texts of popular coon songs, descriptions of the 6.
Aunt Opheliabeing heroine often emphasized her fair beauty, and her lack of the physical at- sternwith a mischievous tributes considered characteristicof most members of the black race. Photo c Uni- mulattoes, and Uncle Toms as key iconographical figures in the lexicon of versal;courtesyof the Libraryof Congress Uncle Tom's Cabin stereotypes of blacks in the early 20th century, and he was also right to suggest that the popularity of the Harriet Beecher Stowe novel had much to do with the formation of these icons But it is not at all clear that these figures necessarily originated with Stowe's text.
The coon figure, in particular, seems to predate blackface minstrelsy, and to hark back to the visual culture of an earlier period. After the Civil War, black performers took on the formulas and tropes of minstrelsy and transformed them into the riotious, anarchic subver- siveness of black comedy as it subsequently flowers in the works of Bert Wil- liams who made films, most of them lostMoms Mabley, and Pigmeat Markum, on through Richard Pryor and Chris Rock; ragtime, coon songs, gospel, blues, rhythm and blues, jazz, and musical theatre are all continuous with this tradition.
After the Civil War, white Uncle Tom productions also included large bands ofJubilee singers, and featured real blacks in various specialties. These were dominant, not marginal, performance practices through the turn of the century, especially in the provinces.
The seductive power of the plantation scenario for white audiences was evoked again and again in popular entertainment, and would carry over seamlessly into film. Particularlysuccessful examples of nostalgic performances of plantation sce- narios consistently occur throughout the turn-of-the-century period. In order to evoke a plantation scenario, wagons, mules, and hen houses were brought in as well as a cast of blacks who were employed to sing, dance, and live "pre-Civil War black social life" Krasner The first film version of Uncle Tom's Cabin, produced by the Edison Com- pany in I, starredits director Thomas Porter, in the title role in blackface, with all the other principle actors in blackface, except that real black musicians and dance troupes were used to perform dances.
The brief minute film, in which the theatrical performance tradition is most evident, consisted of a vari- ety of relatively stable tableaux of the main events of UTC, interspersed with explanatory intertitles. There are also two scenes in which blacks perform: These scenes begin a series of 20th- I48 MicheleWallace century ruptures in the rural idyll of the plantation South, which will become more and more characteristic of Hollywood's forays into this territory.
Three more film versions of the story were made in by the Vitagraph Company, Thanhouser, and Pathe Exchange. Dubois's sense of urgency in writing Souls of Black Folk I as a refutation of the political inertia of the Booker T. Throughout this period, Uncle Tom's Cabin, although convention- ally stereotypical onstage and in film, could sometimes be perceived as a desta- bilizing and subversive element in racial politics.
Movies and CommercialEntertainmentin a SouthernCity,the Daughters of the Confederacy succeeded in pressuring for the passage, inof a Ken- tucky state law known as "The Uncle Tom's Cabin law," which specified that any film or show that promoted disharmony among the races could be pro- hibited from public exhibition.
For the Daughters of the Confederacy, Uncle Tom's Cabin was seen as a radicalizing and politically dangerous text despite the widespread bastardizationof Stowe's abolitionist content Waller There were three more versions made in by Imp, Kalem, and Univer- sal.
But I like to think it was something like the World Film Corpora- tion version directed by William Robert Daly, and starring the famous black actor and black minstrelsy performer and songwriter Sam Lucas in the title role, that the Daughters of the Confederacy had in mind when they intro- duced their UTC law.
Not only does this 6o-minute version return to the radicalism of Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin via its virtual exclusion of scenes of dancing and merrymaking although such occasions did exist in the book, on film or onstage the scenes contributed to the difficult-to-counteract impres- sion that the slaves were happy with their lotit also emphasizes the narrative about biracial Cassy's sexual exploitation by Simon Legree.
Despite the fact that she is a woman of color whose virtue has been com- promised, a still serious indictment inCassy is nevertheless portrayed as starkly heroic in her protection of both Uncle Tom and the younger mulatto figure Emmeline. Given some of the feminist writing about the HarrietJacobs narrative Incidentsin the Life of a Slave Girl I and Jacobs's heroic escape, the triple figures of mulatto women rebelling and escaping in Stowe's text and in this film-Eliza, Emmeline, and Cassy-suggest that further investigation and analysis is needed into the mulatto figure in the Igth century, for both white and black female authors.
The ambivalenceabout black women depending upon how blacknessis visu- ally defined in both Stowe's book and the I World Film version comes through the figure of Topsy, whose characterizationseems the most resistantto any kind of evolutionary change, from century to century and medium to me- dium.
Although the presentation of Topsy in the film played in blackface by Mary Irvine, the "ThanhousserKid" is every bit as stereotypicalas in previous versions, such contradictionscoexist with a furtherradicalizationof Stowe's text. In the World version-which is infinitely more mimetic in its visual ap- proach than the version but still far short of the sophisticated montage of Birth-instead of suggesting to Tom that he kill Legree, Cassy dangles a gun over a sleeping Legree and toys with the idea of shooting him herself.
She de- cides to rescue Emmeline by running away with her instead. In a sequence in- tercut with shots of Cassy and Emmeline's successful escape, the gun is picked up by an anonymous young male slave whom Tom refused to beat.
In a series UncleTom's Cabin 7. LittleEva tellsTopsy MonaRay she lovesherin of close-ups, this nameless young man is shown shooting Legree, who doesn't the film versionof die in Stowe's version.
The final shot in this sequence is a close-up of the Uncle Tom's Cabin. In Birth, Griffith seems to have taken Lydia, the mulatto housekeeper of 8. Lydia is demonized and horrifically sexualized in both Universalfilm of Dixon's and Griffith's versions of her, as representative of the evils of misce- UTC.
Gus-whom Bogle credits with being the source of the fifth and sal; courtesyof the Library perhaps most significant black stereotype, the black buck I -seems to be of Congress a negative version of the young black male slave who shoots Legree at the end of the film. Gus is a would-be rapistwho has developed a taste for white women, nurtured in him by the machinations of Silas Lynch, a mulatto male educated by the Stoneman family.
As I have alreadyindicated, much of the negativity of Dixon's and Griffith's portrayalof mulattoes stems from the political issues of the time. There was a widespread and perhaps accurate perception that the mulattoes-who made up the great majority of the educated and propertied blacks at the close of the Civil War-were the primary instigators of Reconstruction reforms; they sup- plied the ranks of teachers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, and leaders.
As such, they were seen by militant racists as troublemakers. The irrationalfear of mis- cegenation on the part of racist whites serves to further mystify the economic and political rationale for considering mulattoes anathema. According to the historian Joel Williamsoncontrary to Griffith's and Dixon's evident fears that blacks would want to reproduce with whites, from the close of the Civil War through the turn of the century the mulatto or biracial population did exactly the opposite by marrying almost exclusively among blacks.
Uncle Tom's Cabin - Wikipedia
In Within Our Gatesthe black director Oscar Micheaux takes up all these themes, including the rearticulation of the by then conventional black stereotypes. The mulatto protagonist and her light-skinned doctor lover em- body the virtues and dignity of educated blacks, as well as their commitment to the uplift and betterment of the masses.
In the process, Micheaux also pre- sents us with humane and dignified portrayalsof unlettered, rural blacks, and the manner in which they have been besieged by white vigilantism, igno- rance, corruption, and greed. Of course, Micheaux's film was also banned, even as Birthand Uncle Tom's Cabinwere banned, and continue to be banned I50 Michele Wallace and censored formally and informally. There are myriad other texts of this period, by both black and white au- thors, that explore black stereotypes, issues around black slavery and black re- construction, miscegenation, and mulattoes, such as the novels of Charles Chesnutt, Frances Harper, and Pauline Hopkins.
There is even less known about these works, especially in regard to their possible impact on films of the period. The texts I am exploring stand out from the rest as exceptional rather than characteristic and representative, but we can only approach a better un- derstanding of them when their initial context is restored and understood to the best of our abilities. As for the versions of Uncle Tom's Cabin in the Is, what I had not ex- pected was to find these films so engaging and entertaining, in need of resur- rection and circulation, and unjustly consigned to historical obscurity.
I was particularly taken with a comparison of the three films stemming from Uncle Tom's Cabin that were released in and The Univer- sal version of UTC is the straight one. It is incredibly lavish, mobilizing the full splendor of the Hollywood machine.
The plot is utterly transformed in a variety of ideologically revealing ways. For instance, Eliza ends up being sold to Legree, as well as Tom. The Union Army ultimately frees them both, bringing events forward to meet the Civil War. But what I want to draw at- tention to here is the fact that Topsy, for the first time in a series of 10 to 20 silent film adaptations of Uncle Tom's Cabin, is played by either a black girl or a girl so undetectably nonblack as to make a determination of racial identity uncertain-quite an advance in verisimilitude over previous and many subse- quent versions of Topsy.
The historical record does not take note of Topsy's sudden transformation in the '2os, but instead is preoccupied with a focus on whether or how Uncle Tom is played by a black male. In the Universal film, Uncle Tom is played by James Lowe, who was brought in at the last minute to substitute for a more surly Charles Gilpin.
Claire and Little Eva sequences. In scene after scene, her closeness and intimacy with Little Eva and Aunt Ophelia are extensively explored. The problem with recognizing the significance of the Topsy episodes has to do with their humor, which seem to trivialize her potential sadness as a character. Topsy "jes grew" because she never knew her parents, has been commanded to work all her life, and has never known tenderness. Stowe presents her as the classic slave child. In the book, Aunt Ophelia is completely successful at cleaning her up, educating her, and changing her life, but her transformation is rarely remarked in the various film versions.
The other two films of the late '2os, particularly when considered in rela- tion to the Universal film, are also noteworthy. First, both are riotous com- edies, some of the best and most sophisticated I've ever seen from the silent period.
Clearly what allows this irreverent, almost postmodern sophistication is the fact that by now the Uncle Tom's Cabin plot, and all its characters, are intimately known by American movie audiences. They have become a source of either humor and amusement or nostalgia, perhaps in part because of how the general population feels about blacks, but mostly because UTC is a text that had been rigorously and extensively reworked on the stage for 60 years by this time, at least in the North.
Now it has become a joke, almost a self-reflex- ive riddle, like Uncle Sam or Santa Claus. Uncle Tom's Gal looks at a country girl who dreams of being an actress and is visited by a movie crew shooting a version of Uncle Tom's Cabin. When the Uncle Tom's Cabin 9. The two titlecharacters, lea.
Universal;courtesyofthe Libraryof Congress lead actress suddenly quits, our girl gets to play both Topsy and Little Eva. We watch as the film crew sets up the key scenes, with a focus on the interac- tions of Topsy and Little Eva. The girl goes from being made up to play Little Eva to Topsy and back again to Little Eva, with a particular focus on Little Eva's death scene. It is absolutely hilarious and wonderful. Topsy and Eva is a wonderful film, particularlyfor the performances of the Duncan Sisters.
The plot takes bizarre comic liberties with Stowe's scenario and Topsy and Eva become all but lovers. Slavery and a staid and elegant Uncle Tom, played by Noble Johnson, remains in the background as Topsy and Eva become inseparable. Most of the film takes place after the war. The incorrigible tricksterTopsy becomes devoted to Eva and ends up rescuing her from disaster during a classic and hilarious chase scene that comprises the last 20 minutes of the film.
Claire family, en- courages her to climb in bed beside Little Eva so that she can get some much needed rest after her long adventure. Topsy is portrayed as heroic, adventurous, and an absolutely delightful trickster-figure who won the empathy of this audience member. I could scarcely believe my eyes. Since both Topsy and Little Eva are much-maligned stereotypes of black women and white women respectively, both characters, Topsy in particular, are rarely examined-but I suspect that she really should be.
Topsy emerges in all these films as the only really free figure in the planta- tion South, and she couldn't be further from what Donald Bogle describes as an asexual coon I The edi- tors of The StoweDebate: RhetoricalStrategiesin UTC write of these films: MargaretMitchell continued to insist in I that she had written Gonewith the Windin order to provide a more accurateand less negative portraitof the antebellum South than had UTC.
The film industry and black film audiences witnessed the birth of sound film and Al Jolson's appropriation of black music as a space of whiteness in American cinema. Black sound "race" films failed to succeed economically, including Micheaux's and Spencer Williams's films, as well as such noble en- deavors as King Vidor's HallelujahDudley Murphy's St.
At this point, Uncle Tom's Cabin truly begins to die as a serious text. In its place, Gone with the Wind I is substituted as the domi- nant cinematic rendering of slavery, the Civil War, and the plantation South. First, the preoccupation with the fate of black men, either be- fore or after the war, vanishes. Instead, the black characters-a classic Uncle Tom figure, a Mammy figure, and Prissy as a watered-down version of Topsy-become virtually an aspect of the mise-en-scene, part of the scenery, dispensing with the irksome bother of explaining the South's conflict with or the dependence on blacks.
The narrativetension shifts entirely to the portrayalof Scarlett, a problem- atically masculine, problematically dark figure who as the book by Margaret Mitchell makes much clearer than the film fails always to successfully restrain her racially suspect sexual passion, her working-class aggression, and her un- feminine economic greed and aggressiveness.
In a peculiarly US cultural sleight of hand, in place of being openly racialized, the problem of subjectivity invariablysettles upon the compromise figure of the white female or the dark, lo. The actressplaying Topsyin Uncle Tom's Gal wore a stocking overherfaceto make blackface. Photocourtesyof the Libraryof Congress Uncle Tom's Cabin I53 pseudo-working-class "outsider" male, Rhett Butler, who just so happens to always be surrounded by picturesque, humorous blacks. There are some wonderful and riotous cartoon takeoffs on Uncle Tom's Cabin through the Is and '5os, such as the hilarious Uncle Tom's Cabanain which Little Eva figures as a Gilda-type chanteuse in Uncle Tom's nightclub in downtown Manhattan.
In the adaptation of Uncle Tom's Cabin staged for Alistair Cooke's Omnibus television series ina solemn kind of retooling of the old classic begins to render it more useful to the Civil Rights movement and the liberal integra- tionist agenda. In this particularversion, a beautiful young Ruby Dee makes a fleeting appearance as Eliza, and Topsy is finally played by an actual little black girl of about ten, quite convincingly, although with none of the come- dic business of most prior Topsys.
What these more high- minded versions tend to do is to simply rid themselves of the mulatto narra- tive, by making all the people who would have been played by whites in early movies into visibly black people. No one can ever leave Uncle Tom's Cabin alone or let it be what it is, be- cause who even knows what it is. It also seemed to begin to probe some of the issues that film scholar and feminist Linda Williams raises in her I ar- ticle on "Versions of Uncle Tom" about the way in which UTC illustrates a pivotal, transitionalmoment in American cinema as well as American theatre.
UTC, she says, is responsible for providing American theatre and film with its first set of compelling reasons to move from the scattershot approaches of blackface minstrelsy, circus sideshow entertainments, coon songs, burlesque, and vaudeville to the performance and delineation of sustained linear narra- tives over a sequence of time, which has resulted in what we know today as American theatre and American feature film.
What is completely unknown is how indelibly these developments are intertwined with the parallel develop- ments and debates around issues of race.
See Sampson's The Ghost Walks for illustrations of the apparent lightness of many of the female performers; also see photos in Black Magic: Eva enters the narrative when Uncle Tom is traveling via steamship to New Orleans to be sold, and he rescues the five- or six-year-old girl from drowning. Eva begs her father to buy Tom, and he becomes the head coachman at the St. He spends most of his time with the angelic Eva.
Eva often talks about love and forgiveness, convincing the dour slave girl Topsy that she deserves love. She even touches the heart of her Aunt Ophelia. Eventually Eva falls terminally ill.
Before dying, she gives a lock of her hair to each of the slaves, telling them that they must become Christians so that they may see each other in Heaven. On her deathbed, she convinces her father to free Tom, but because of circumstances the promise never materializes.
A similar character, also named Little Eva, later appeared in the children's novel Little Eva: The Flower of the South by Philip J.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin | Summary, Date, & Significance | 572233.info
Cozans—although this ironically was an anti-Tom novel. He is arguably the novel's main antagonist. His goal is to demoralize Tom and break him of his religious faith; he eventually orders Tom whipped to death out of frustration for his slave's unbreakable belief in God. The novel reveals that, as a young man, he had abandoned his sickly mother for a life at sea and ignored her letter to see her one last time at her deathbed.
He sexually exploits Cassy, who despises him, and later sets his designs on Emmeline. It is unclear if Legree is based on any actual individuals.
Reports surfaced after the s that Stowe had in mind a wealthy cotton and sugar plantation owner named Meredith Calhounwho settled on the Red River north of Alexandria, Louisiana. Generally, however, the personal characteristics of Calhoun "highly educated and refined" do not match the uncouthness and brutality of Legree. Calhoun even edited his own newspaper, published in Colfax originally "Calhoun's Landing"which was renamed The National Democrat after Calhoun's death.
However, Calhoun's overseers may have been in line with the hated Legree's methods and motivations. Arthur Shelby — Tom's master in Kentucky. Shelby is characterized as a "kind" slaveowner and a stereotypical Southern gentleman. Emily Shelby — Arthur Shelby's wife. She is a deeply religious woman who strives to be a kind and moral influence upon her slaves and is appalled when her husband sells his slaves with a slave trader.
As a woman, she has no legal way to stop this, as all property belongs to her husband. Chloe — Tom's wife and mother of his children.
Clare — Tom's third owner and father of Eva. Clare is complex, often sarcastic, with a ready wit. After a rocky courtship he marries a woman he grows to hold in contempt, though he is too polite to let it show. Clare recognizes the evil in chattel slavery but is not willing to relinquish the wealth it brings him. After his daughter's death he becomes more sincere in his religious thoughts and starts to read the Bible to Tom.
He plans on finally taking action against slavery by freeing his slaves, but his good intentions ultimately come to nothing. Clare — Wife of Augustine, she is a self-absorbed woman without a hint of compassion for those around her, including her own family.
Given to an unending list of apparently imaginary physical maladies, she continually complains about the lack of sympathy she is receiving. She has separated her personal maid, Mammy, from her own two children because they would interfere with her duties.
As Marie drives Mammy to exhaustion, she criticizes her for selfishly seeking to attend her own family. Upon the unexpected death of Augustine, Marie countermands the legal process that would have given Tom his freedom.
George Harris — Eliza's husband. An intelligent and clever half-white slave who is fiercely loyal to his family. When asked if she knows who made her, she professes ignorance of both God and a mother, saying "I s'pect I growed. Don't think nobody never made me. During the early-to-mid 20th century, several doll manufacturers created Topsy and Topsy-type dolls. The phrase "growed like Topsy" later "grew like Topsy" passed into the English language, originally with the specific meaning of unplanned growth, later sometimes just meaning enormous growth.
Clare's pious, hard-working, abolitionist cousin from Vermont. She displays the ambiguities towards African-Americans felt by many Northerners at the time. She argues against the institution of slavery yet, at least initially, feels repulsed by the slaves as individuals.
Don't blame Uncle Tom
Prue — A depressed slave who was forced to let her child starve to death. She takes up drinking in her misery, and is ultimately beaten and killed for it. Quimbo and Sambo — slaves of Simon Legree who act as overseers of the plantation. On orders from Legree, they savagely whip Tom but afterward tearfully repent of their deeds to Tom, who forgives them as he lies dying.
Major themes "The fugitives are safe in a free land. Smyth after they escape to freedom. Uncle Tom's Cabin is dominated by a single theme: Stowe sometimes changed the story's voice so she could give a " homily " on the destructive nature of slavery  such as when a white woman on the steamboat carrying Tom further south states, "The most dreadful part of slavery, to my mind, is its outrages of feelings and affections—the separating of families, for example. Stowe made it somewhat subtle and in some cases she weaved it into events that would also support the dominant theme.
One example of this is when Augustine St. Clare is killed, he attempted to stop a brawl between two inebriated men in a cafe and was stabbed. One other example is the death of the slave woman Prue who was whipped to death for being drunk on a consistent basis; however, her reasons for doing so is due to the loss of her baby.
In the opening of the novel, the fates of Eliza and her son are being discussed between slave owners over wine. Considering that Stowe intended this to be a subtheme, this scene could foreshadow future events that put alcohol in a bad light.
Because Stowe saw motherhood as the "ethical and structural model for all of American life"  and also believed that only women had the moral authority to save  the United States from the demon of slavery, another major theme of Uncle Tom's Cabin is the moral power and sanctity of women.
Through characters like Eliza, who escapes from slavery to save her young son and eventually reunites her entire familyor Eva, who is seen as the "ideal Christian",  Stowe shows how she believed women could save those around them from even the worst injustices.
- Uncle Tom's Cabin
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Clare to "look away to Jesus" after the death of St. Clare's beloved daughter Eva. These genres were the most popular novels of Stowe's time and tended to feature female main characters and a writing style which evoked a reader's sympathy and emotion. Georgiana May, a friend of Stowe's, wrote a letter to the author, saying: I could not leave it any more than I could have left a dying child. Whicher called Uncle Tom's Cabin " Sunday-school fiction", full of "broadly conceived melodrama, humor, and pathos.
The Cultural Work of American Fiction. She also said that the popular domestic novels of the 19th century, including Uncle Tom's Cabin, were remarkable for their "intellectual complexity, ambition, and resourcefulness"; and that Uncle Tom's Cabin offers a "critique of American society far more devastating than any delivered by better-known critics such as Hawthorne and Melville.
Writing inlegal scholar Richard Posner described Uncle Tom's Cabin as part of the mediocre list of canonical works that emerges when political criteria are imposed on literature. As a best-seller, the novel heavily influenced later protest literature. Contemporary and world reaction Stowe responded to criticism by writing A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabindocumenting the veracity of her novel's depiction of slavery.
Uncle Tom's Cabin outraged people in the American South. Acclaimed Southern novelist William Gilmore Simms declared the work utterly false,  while others called the novel criminal and slanderous.
For instance, she had never been to a Southern plantation. However, Stowe always said she based the characters of her book on stories she was told by runaway slaves in Cincinnati. It is reported that "She observed firsthand several incidents which galvanized her to write [the] famous anti-slavery novel. Scenes she observed on the Ohio River, including seeing a husband and wife being sold apart, as well as newspaper and magazine accounts and interviews, contributed material to the emerging plot.
In the book, Stowe discusses each of the major characters in Uncle Tom's Cabin and cites "real life equivalents" to them while also mounting a more "aggressive attack on slavery in the South than the novel itself had. However, while Stowe claimed A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin documented her previously consulted sources, she actually read many of the cited works only after the publication of her novel.
Thus, Stowe put more than slavery on trial; she put the law on trial. This continued an important theme of Uncle Tom's Cabin—that the shadow of law brooded over the institution of slavery and allowed owners to mistreat slaves and then avoid punishment for their mistreatment.
In some cases, as Stowe pointed out, it even prevented kind owners from freeing their slaves. According to Stowe's son, when Abraham Lincoln met her in Lincoln commented, "So this is the little lady who started this great war. The scene—a runaway black slave and child attacked by dogs—was inspired by Uncle Tom's Cabin. Uncle Tom's Cabin also created great interest in the United Kingdom.