Uncle Tom's Cabin Newsletter

Written by Sophie Shiff and Michael Sebbag

Thesis

In Harriet Stowe's controversial novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin written in 1852, many issues were brought to the forefront of society that could no longer be masked. The novel primarily confronted the inequality and hypocrisy that the American people were exemplifying by claiming to be an equal nation, yet still enslaving millions, ultimately lending to the idea that the American people were becoming blind to their own moral beliefs.

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Tobacco Advertisement

In this advertisement for Tobacco, a young black child can be seen frolicking around with a pipe of Tobacco with the caption "I Is So Wicked!" written above her, showing that the hatred of blacks was even sublimely put into advertisements and by choosing to advertise with a young black child, the message is perceived to be that of a racially equal and tolerant society, although this was clearly not true, tying back to the idea of hypocrisy in society.
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Topsy At Mirror

This illustration depicts a young black child putting on white face powder to change her appearance and a elderly white woman watching her in shock, portraying the idea even at such a young age, the child believes that being white is superior to her own race and the woman recognizing this action is in disbelief because she realizes the impact that the discrimination is making on young black children.

Sophie's Responses

A. Visually, some of the more subtle ideas conveyed in this time period were that the white women were more caring and not as harsh towards slaves and the blacks as white men were. In many of the pictures, white women were depicted as defying the social norm and their husbands as they were treat the slaves as human beings rather than objects. Additionally, throughout the pictures, the slaves were depicted as sweet innocent people, through their submissive actions and sweet facial expressions. They were not shown as horrible, violent people that the whites made them out to be.


B. The most surprising thing about the images I examined was realizing how much the younger generations of slave children were affected by the unfair inequalities and discriminations that they were born into. The black children did not get to choose the kind of lifestyle and mistreatment they would have to deal with for probably the rest of their lives and as young impressionable children, their view points on society and themselves were shaped by the older generations' hypocrisy and racist attitudes and this can be seen through several of the pictures above, especially "Topsy at Mirror."

Michael's Responses

A. Beyond white superiority after looking at these pictures the idea of the loss of morality of the white man is clear.In almost of the pictures I observed it is clear that the white man is commiting immoral actions towards the black people. It is unfortunate that the white man losed their morality because of the standards of the south society, furthermore it seemed that standards of society essentially enslaved the white man into this ideology of immorality and resentment of the white man.


B. After observing the images the most surprising thing that struck me was a picture of a white lady helping a black man and saying “do not call me misses, I am but a slave like you”. This image led me to believe that the ideology of the mistreatment of the black man and slavery was in a way forced upon some. Through this picture I concluded that the “southern way” really did not apply to all southerners but rather a few, however this way was the standard of society and in result caused the “southern way” to become a stereotype to all southerners.