Uncle Tom's Cabin

Cultural Interactions


Uncle Tom's Cabin, a book by Harriet Beecher Stowe, shows the fear many slaves faced in the 1850s because of their extensive mistreatment and dehumanization which helps bolster and further the strong abolitionist sentiment in the North.

Additional Thoughts


Uncle Tom's Cabin subtly conveys the deep fear the African American slaves felt in the 1850s because they were horribly dehumanized against their will. The book portrays their abuse and torture and therefore is able to powerfully persuade against slavery in the South and support the abolitionist movement in the North. The images show aspects of slave life that are often hidden behind the scenes of white people's benefit such as their desire to protect their children against the horrors of being sold, praying and crying out for freedom, etc. The most surprising thing I found was that despite these powerful images against slavery, the South still protected slavery even to the point of countering Uncle Tom's Cabin with a similar book.


In Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Stowe, more subtle ideas conveyed in this time period are that Christianity and slavery cannot mix. Any true Christian would not allow the mistreatment and tearing apart of slave families. Additionally, the picturing of the white children with the African American children was used to depict that the color of skin does not differentiate them. Also, the use of graphic images such as showing a whipping of Uncle Tom are used to portray to everyone that slavery is a cruel and painful unnecessary aspect of life that is harming the African Americans. They are both still Americans and deserve to be treated equally in all aspects of life. I was most surprised about the image of a white child constantly accompanying Uncle Tom. Also, the use of Uncle Tom to promote products seemed inappropriate due to the dark message and purpose Uncle Tom’s story portrays.