Understanding Stowe’s Uncle Tom Essay

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Slavery, Uncle Tom, Uncle, Slave, White, Violence, Fight, Literature

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/11/06

The depictions of pro-slavery and anti-slavery states of Antebellum America are evident in Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. Originally published a few years before the American Civil War, of between 1861 and 1865, Historians list Stowe’s novel as one of the reasons behind the final decision for the opposing sides to take up arms. Evidently, as her narration follows two storylines, that of Uncle Tom and Eliza Harris, Stowe successfully garnered the abolitionists’ movement to take action and fight against slavery. The success of Stowe’s story revolves around the main characters in the same. On one hand, there is Uncle Tom, who seems to accept his position as a slave and shows no desire to escape. On the contrary, there is Eliza Harris, a woman who takes a daring leap across the frozen waters of the Ohio River to save her son from slavery. To understand Stowe's position regarding Uncle Tom, one needs to look at the character as a slave and then as a symbol in the narration.
With an emphasis on Uncle Tom’s character in Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, one can easily see traits of racism in the man’s ideologies. A racist person perceives one race superior to another and in Uncle Tom’s case; the man tolerates the belief and subjects himself to the supremacy of the white masters. In concurrence to the claim, when the slaves lament over their plight and the cruelty of slavery, Uncle Tom states that it is the work of nature “and natur’s strong” (Stowe 785). Part of the slave owners’ arguments that support the act of putting one race in bondage revolves around Christianity. According to the whites, because the Bible tells of Noah cursing one of his sons, blacks are rightfully under the dominance of the whites. As a result, when white people own black slaves, they are merely serving God’s will upon the races. Tom’s assertion that blacks are slaves by nature coincides with the white man’s ideologies and in turn, portrays the man as racist. In addition, there are incidences where Uncle Tom seems to support the misdeeds of the whites when dealing with black slaves. The most outstanding factor is that while Eliza runs away, Uncle Tom does not fight when his master decides to sell him to the slave trader Haley (Stowe 785). The next instance revolves around the boat scene where Harley sells off a ten and a half months old baby belonging to a newly purchased slave for fifty dollars without the woman’s knowledge. Uncle Tom “watched the whole transaction from first to last” but did not raise any alarm (Stowe 811). Evidently, Uncle Tom supports white supremacy and subjects him and other slaves to the principles on which slave ownership exists.
Consequently, to be an “Uncle Tom” resonates with slaves behaving in a manner that not only supports the slavery institution but also betrays other slaves and subjects them to the cruelty of their white masters. In turn, finding a basis inside Stowe’s story, an Uncle Tom will be a black person who does not fight the bondage that he or she has to endure. Instead, said black person seems to love being a slave and expects other to follow suit.
Stowe’s disagreement can evolve from the settings of her story and the timeline in which the characters exist. Uncle Tom is a slave in Antebellum America meaning the American Civil War has not come, and the Emancipation Proclamation is still a dream for the slaves. Consequently, for the simple reason that he does not fight the white man’s rule and readily following the dictations of slavery, Uncle Tom exhibits wisdom. After all, in the novel, Eliza Harris lives a life of constant fear and danger for running away even though she is free and with her family. Next, on the boat scene, Uncle Tom could not help Lucy and her baby because he is also a slave (Stowe 811). To emphasize on his rights over Lucy and the child, Haley has in his possession a paper as proof of the selling transaction. Thus, if Uncle Tom raised an alarm, the woman’s suffering would be more and her fighting futile. There are even high chances of retribution by the trader following the misbehavior of his “merchandise”. As a result, one can even argue that Uncle Tom helped smooth the shock of a mother losing her child to the cruelty of bondage. All of Stowe’s possible oppositions, as mentioned above, revolve around the notion of blacks being the property of their white masters. All the reasons behind readers seeing Uncle Tom as racist are unfounded for the man just realizes a lost fight when he sees one. After all, his decision to remain behind while Eliza ran was so he could protect the other slave families from separation. If anything, Uncle Tom is the story’s hero for his sacrifice.
Conclusively, Stowe’s depiction of Uncle Tom merely serves as a means for the author to show how blacks cannot fight for their rights. In other words, there is no positive aspect to being a loyal slave because despite serving his master faithfully, the dictations of slavery separate him from his wife, Aunt Chloe (Stowe 786). Regardless, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” successfully gives the realities of slave ownership and the impact that the practice has on slaves at the personal and family levels. The lives of the slaves are unpredictable as their futures lie in the hands of their masters, when a slave owner decides to sell his or her slaves, the latter cannot fight said decision. For this reason, slaves are the possessions of their owners and are a source of riches courtesy of the trading system in the institution.

Work Cited

Stowe, Harriet Beecher. "Uncle Tom's Cabin." Baym, Nina. The Norton Anthology of American Gen. ed. 8th. Vol. A. New York: Norton, 2012. 779-813. Print.

Cite this page
Choose cite format:
  • APA
  • MLA
  • Harvard
  • Vancouver
  • Chicago
  • ASA
  • IEEE
  • AMA
WePapers. (2020, November, 06) Understanding Stowe’s Uncle Tom Essay. Retrieved June 28, 2022, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/understanding-stowes-uncle-tom-essay/
"Understanding Stowe’s Uncle Tom Essay." WePapers, 06 Nov. 2020, https://www.wepapers.com/samples/understanding-stowes-uncle-tom-essay/. Accessed 28 June 2022.
WePapers. 2020. Understanding Stowe’s Uncle Tom Essay., viewed June 28 2022, <https://www.wepapers.com/samples/understanding-stowes-uncle-tom-essay/>
WePapers. Understanding Stowe’s Uncle Tom Essay. [Internet]. November 2020. [Accessed June 28, 2022]. Available from: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/understanding-stowes-uncle-tom-essay/
"Understanding Stowe’s Uncle Tom Essay." WePapers, Nov 06, 2020. Accessed June 28, 2022. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/understanding-stowes-uncle-tom-essay/
WePapers. 2020. "Understanding Stowe’s Uncle Tom Essay." Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. Retrieved June 28, 2022. (https://www.wepapers.com/samples/understanding-stowes-uncle-tom-essay/).
"Understanding Stowe’s Uncle Tom Essay," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 06-Nov-2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/understanding-stowes-uncle-tom-essay/. [Accessed: 28-Jun-2022].
Understanding Stowe’s Uncle Tom Essay. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/understanding-stowes-uncle-tom-essay/. Published Nov 06, 2020. Accessed June 28, 2022.

Share with friends using:

Please remember that this paper is open-access and other students can use it too.

If you need an original paper created exclusively for you, hire one of our brilliant writers!

Related Premium Essays
Contact us
Chat now