Uncle Tom's Cabin Web Experience
By Steven Rogers and Grace Watkins
This image conveys how, despite being brutally mistreated, the slave boys depicted retain a hopeful outlook.
In this image, many different interactions are portrayed, ranging from the man being whipped to Eva and Uncle Tom sitting together in harmony, which conveys the multi-faceted nature of interracial interaction in the 1850s
The obvious sense of peace and comfort in this image shows that the two subjects are not merely equals but friends, communicating that equality improves life for everyone, not just the oppressed.
The quality of clothing worn by both the subjects implies prosperity, and the little girl looks at Uncle Tom with trust and kindness, conveying how completely they have looked past their differences.
The subjects in this image are dressed in bright, contrasting color, meant to call attention to their differences, not to divide them, but to show how they have come together as friends.
In this image, Uncle Tom is lifting Eva up on his knee, symbolizing how the two build each other up through their friendship, despite the prejudiced world they live in.
The Analysis - by Steven Rogers
These ideas were not what surprised me though; what surprised me was the emotion depicted in the illustrations. These emotions were not vengeful nor sad but they were kind and calm, instead. The lack of focus on what had happened, the paintings focused on what could happen. Due to this, there was not anger and there was not sadness, only calm contemplation. By removing anger and sadness from the paintings they, surprisingly, became easier to connect with. This is because, by not relying on a shared experience, the art is easier to understand and, thus, connecting is easier as well.
Analysis by Grace Watkins
Equality is the strongest theme in most of the images, but it isn't just political or economic equality. Even at this point history, the focus is on creating a harmonious society where people of different races see each other not just as equals, but as fellow humans. the pictures of Eva and Uncle Tom highlight their friendship and respect for each other--the fact that they have different skin colors is secondary. The images don't focus on equality as a political and social injustice, they mourn the humanity lost when prejudice and intolerance rule society. The only stereotypical image is of Eva and the girl in the red dress--although they hold hands, the contrast between them borders on ridiculous and there is no warmth in the gesture. This picture seems to focus more on the differences between Eva and the other girl, and while it does promote equality, it doesn't celebrate unity like the other images. The image of the slave boys being kicked and beaten also focuses on inequality rather than unity, with emphasis on the clear divide between the boys and the man. The anger at injustice, rather than focusing on the benefits of equality.
It surprised me that more images weren't like these--angry or oversimplified. But instead of focusing on what draws the country apart, but instead focusing on their primary goal--to bring people together. They also portray the subjects as people, not stereotypes. They do this by clearly portraying the relationships between the characters, and focusing on emotion, not action, in the peices. The majority of the images aren't inherently persuasive, they focus on conveying a message by celebrating tolerance and unity, not by disparaging hate. For the most part, the stories in the images have happy endings. They focus on beauty of humanity, not the despair caused by the darker sides of human nature.