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Christian Thought in Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” Essay

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Updated: Jan 27th, 2022

Uncle Tom’s Cabin depicts the wickedness and immorality of slavery. Stowe manages to use Christian thought to fight the enslavement of humans. The novel ideally wanted to show aggression to the Fugitive Slave Act passed in the year 1850. This law prohibited anyone to offer help to a fugitive slave. The plot and setting of the scenes of the novel use the North to symbolize freedom and the South embodies evil slavery encompassed with oppression and immorality. Stowe uses Eva, Tom, Uncle Tom, and Eliza to approach the theme of Christianity and fight the destructive nature of slavery (Stowe 19)

Uncle Tom is depicted as a devoted Christian, he is promised freedom but maintains he wants to remain behind to convert St. Clare to be Christian. The meekness he possessed was overlooked, as he always resorts to the Bible for guidance, as his influence over slaves in the plantation grew immensely. Uncle Tom is a simple and noble Christian slave (Routledge 31). George, Emily’s son believes Tom is a friend and a perfect God-fearing man. Near the end of the novel, he frees the slaves. As the slaves leave George asks them to have a glance at Uncle Tom’s Cabin. He tells them to remember how Uncle Tom led a Christian life as they have a look at the Cabin. It’s ironic, but we see clearly how Christianity overcomes brutal treatment specifically afflicted upon Tom’s life in the cabin. Christianity softens the heart of the hardened Lords of slavery. Tom Loker a maestro slave hunter is shot by George, while helpless the Quakers treat him, and later he chooses to change his lifestyle, although he does not confess, plainly he is murdered in Legree’s plantation and dies a martyr after forgiving those who beat him to death (Stowe 38)

Stowe shows how slavery as a system is contrasted from ideologies of Christianity. Eva is used to show why Christian should not put up with slavery. She is depicted as a morally faultless person in the novel. She is white and she wonders why differences are being made between black slaves and ‘superior’ white, as depicted by Tom Loker a slave hunter. She is an Angelic daughter of St. Clare and Marie; she is sometimes referred as the Christ holy figure. She makes friendship with Uncle Tom up to when he dies as a martyr. Her faith, dedication, bravery as a woman, and death makes her mother converts to Christianity (Ammons 159)

Stowe uses several motifs in her novel to apply the fundamental extend of Christianity. Eva at one point was symbolized as Jesus by Ophelia, she receives a divine premonition of her death, she is shown a vision of heaven, and this strengthens her purity and drives her to reject slavery. In addition, there are other several divine intrusions, for example, Eliza Harris’ leap while escaping. The scene represents the most illustrious part of the novel, a transition from slavery to freedom. She leaps rapidly over blocks of ice with the least dread. She was desperate and God intervened giving her strength needed to flee away from slavery and oppression intended by Shelby to sell her son.

We clearly see how the evil encompassed in slavery and Christianity battle in novel. At the end, Christianity emerges the victor, representing an antidote to hostilities inflicted by slavery to Christian-devoted characters.

Works Cited

Ammons, Elizabeth. Stowe’s Dream of the Mother-Savior: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and American Women Writers Before the 1920s: New Essays on Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Cambridge University Press, 1986. Print.

Routledge, Rosenthal, Debra J. A Routledge Literary Sourcebook on Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. 2003. Print.

Stowe, Harriet B. Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Spark Publishers, 2002. Print.

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IvyPanda. "Christian Thought in Stowe’s "Uncle Tom’s Cabin"." January 27, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/christian-thought-in-stowes-uncle-toms-cabin/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Christian Thought in Stowe’s "Uncle Tom’s Cabin"." January 27, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/christian-thought-in-stowes-uncle-toms-cabin/.

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