Uncle Tom's Cabin

Harriet Beecher Stowe

"So you're the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war."

Summary

In the beginning of the story all is well and everyone is together. Uncle Tom is with his family, owned by Mr. Shelby and Eliza is Mrs. Shelby's maid treated like a daughter. When Mr. Shelby falls into a huge amount of debt their world comes tumbling down. Mr. Haley approaches Shelby in hope of buying certain slaves to help him out. Eliza over hears the trade, in which it is decided Haley will buy Uncle Tom and her son Harry. In the night she warns Uncle Tom and Aunt Chloe, and then takes off with Harry to meet up with her husband George who is already on the run. As the story goes George and Eliza Harris are kind of a subplot running off to Canada in search of freedom and then in the end looping back to Uncle Tom. Following Eliza's escape Haley takes Tom, and hires a slave hunter (Tom Loker) to catch the Harris' (George, Eliza, and Harry). Tom is put on a boat going down the Mississippi to be sold, and Eva (Augustine St. Clare's daughter) falls over the side. Tom's instinct is to jump in and he saves her life. St. Clare thankfully buys Tom and takes him to New Orleans. St. Clare often times drunk treats his slaves well, but his daughter not so much. Eva and Tom become really close just as Tom and Mas'r George (Shelby's son) were. Miss Ophelia (St. Clare's cousin) then arrives from the north. She is not fond of slaves but after living on the plantation she becomes more aware of how "normal" and friendly they are when treated right. St. Clare is in the final steps of releasing his slaves when he dies. Driven by greed his wife (Marie) sells the slaves and Tom is sent to the backwoods of Louisiana under the ownership of Simon Legree. During this transition, with the help of the Quakers, the Harris' have crossed the Erie and have safely settled down in Louisiana. This will be Tom's final owner and he is the stereotypical owner, treating the slaves horridly. When buying Tom, Legree also buys Emmeline to replace his slave Cassy as a sex slave. Cassy has had two children, one who she was separated from and the other she killed so she didn't have to be. Tom encourages the two girls to escape and they do, but he is harshly whipped. At the same time Mr. Shelby arrives to the plantation in hope of buying him but has no chance. At the end you find that all of their lives intermingle and it takes many different twists and turns that you could never see coming.

Other Slave Owners

Augustine St. Clare- Tom's owner in New Orleans. He is a leisurely man that likes to drink and does not believe in God. He has a daughter, Eva, that is not always treated how she deserves to be. Like Mr. Shelby he knows slavery is wrong and still practices it, but he treats his slaves very well. They are sold by his cousin, Miss Ophelia, after his death.

Simon Legree- Tom's final owner in Louisiana. He is a vicious man that beats the slaves constantly for no real reason. When Mr. Shelby tries to reason with him about Tom he will not even think twice.

Paragraph

"What do you owe to these poor unfortunates, O Christians?  Does not every American Christian owe to the African race some effort at reparation for the wrongs that the American nation has brought upon them?  Shall the doors of churches and schoolhouses be shut upon them?  Shall states arise and shake them out?  Shall the Church of Christ hear in silent the taunt that is thrown at them, and shrink away from the helpless hand that they stretch out; and, by her silence, encourage the cruelty that would chase them from our borders?  If it must be so, it will be a mournful spectacle.  If it must be so, the country will have reason to tremble, when it remembers that the fate of nations is in the hands of One who, is very pitiful, and of tender compassion."  -Harriet Beecher Stowe

Review

Uncle Tom's Cabin is very easy to read. It keeps you on your toes and wanting to know more. When something bad happens to a character it touches your emotions, but you keep reading. I knew that slaves were treated awful which is shown by one of the slave owners, but I learned that there were people looking out for the slaves, such as the Quakers and the Shelbys. I would suggest this book to anyone that is looking for an interesting yet educational book about slavery.