Uncle Tom's Cabin

Emily Kim and Benji Gabay

Thesis

Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, had a profound effect on the cultural interactions in the early 1850's between African Americans and white Americans as the cruelty suffered by African Americans came to light, thus creating a movement to reduce discrimination and see African Americans as friends, neighbors, and brothers.

Emily Kim Questions A&B

A. The images generally showed African Americans in a more positive light, but the sense that they were still slightly uncivilized came across. They were shown with wild and expressive emotions while the white people were calmer, giving a more civilized appearance. That being said, when the white people were shown interacting with black people, it seemed like they were lowering their superior standards. Another common theme was the little girl was the only one who trusted Uncle Tom, showing how if a child is safe with a black man then they must not be uncivilized savages.


B. It was surprising how extensive the reactions to Uncle Tom's Cabin were, as shown by the multitudes of images created to portray the abolitionist message. Everything from children's book, figurines, plates, plays, operas, and advertisements - anything with related to some type of expressive art was used, which shows the widespread importance of Uncle Tom's Cabin in the 1850's.

Benji Gabay Questions A&B

A. The images above have many different underlying messages. The idea of friendliness and equality with others in society can be seen, as the African Americans are casually with the white people. The African Americans can be seen as kind, non hostile, and safe to be around.


B. B. It was surprising to me that I saw almost an equal number of pictures that showed African Americans as equal and nice because I was expecting much more white dominance and almost a disregard for the African Americans.