Uncle Tom's Cabin

Fayha and Sana Khan


In the 1850s, cultural interactions, as seen in Uncle Tom's Cabin, sought to portray African Americans as moral human beings, in order to advocate for the abolitionist movement. Nonetheless, blacks were illustrated negatively in their appearances, similar to the idea of the noble savage, due to the underlying beliefs in white supremacy.

Fayha Khan

During this time period, depicts the fear that African Americans felt as slaves. It seems that the slaves are always trying to be the best people they can be to gain favor of their owners. In many scenes one man is portrayed as a hero; he saves a girl from drowning, and spends time reading with her. I can see the hopelessness the African Americans felt about their situations. No matter what they did, they would always be doomed for a life of servitude. Furthermore, the human qualities of African Americans are portrayed through the illustrations of them doing things even white people did. A young slave girl is seen playing with a white girl and a man is seen enjoying reading a book with a young girl. All of these depictions highlight the human qualities in the slaves and make them more relatable in the whites' eyes. The most surprising image was that of Topsy. I was appalled to see an African Americans depicted so offensively; Topsy embodied all the racist qualities that whites associated with African Americans. It was pretty unfortunate to think that all of the good qualities of the slaves were squandered just by changing the appearance. Furthermore, it was very rude that Topsy was depicted as crazy just because of the stereotype.

Sana Khan

During this time period, the Abolitionist movement was beginning to catch hold in society. Thus, Uncle Tom's Cabin has nuances of the moral and heroic character of black slaves. Despite the hardships and challenges they face on a daily basis, sometimes blacks are morally superior to whites. The relationship between Eva and Uncle Tom conveys they nurturing attitude of Uncle Tom. Moreover, the nuances of emotion that were in the scenes of this story during slave auctions and whippings conveys the attitude that black slaves have very difficult lives.

The most surprising images I saw were the ones portraying the black female character Topsy almost as a lunatic. She had a devilish appearance that conveyed her low status as a slave and insubordination in society. She appeared this way mainly because of the black face that was used by white actors in order to differentiate their race. In today's society black face is not tolerated in society because it is so deeply offensive to all.