Throughout the book Uncle Toms Cabin the setting changes.It starts out in Kentucky.Tom is later sold to New Orleans and then to a plantation up the Red River.At each new place Tom goes his faith in God is put to the test,but Tom stays pious and refuses to turn away from God.In Kentucky Tom is owned by Andy Shelby,a kindly master,who has fallen in to debt and is forced to sell his slaves.Tom is sold to a slave trader named Haley.He ends up in New Orleans in the possession of a romantic and flighty man by the name of St.Clare. After the unfortunate death of St.Clare and his daughter Tom is sold to a wicked plantation owner,Simon Legree,up the Red River.
The main character in Uncle Toms Cabin is Uncle Tom.He is a kindly, uncommonly honest and over all a good man.Tom maintains his faith in God although it is often tested.He is an obedient and hard working slave.He endures his fate while helping others in need escape theirs.He befriends other slaves who want to escape in Canada.He has a wife named Aunt Chloe who is the Shelbys cook.She too is a very good and pious person.Who vows to buy back Tom when he is sold and works hard to try to do so.
There is also Eliza,the Shelbys maid and her son Harry,who she learns is being sold to the slave trader along with Uncle Tom.She is pain stricken to think that she my be separated from her son and asks Tom for help.
Andys wife is against slavery and begs Andy not to sell Harry.She is pleased with Eliza and Harrys escape.
When Eilza appeals to Tom for help he advises that she along with her son run and the two quietly slip into the night.Though Tom decides he will not do the same.Andys wife who is against slavery and begged Andy not to sell Harry is pleased with Eliza and Harrys escape.
Soon after the search for Eliza and Harry begins.The slave trader,Haley,along with two slaves track Eliza down but she narrowly escapes by jumping into a river.Haley then hires a slave hunter named Loker to continue to track her.Eliza and Harry end up being helped by a senator who claims to support slavery but is convinced by his wife to befriend them.
Mean while Tom starts off with the slave trader,He and Haley board a boat.At the same time we learn that Eliza and Harry are at a Quaker settlement where they are reunited with with Elizas husband George. On the boat Tom befriends an angelic little girl named Eva and when the girl falls overboard Tom saves her. He is then purchased by St.Clare,the Evas father.St.Clare is married to an awful woman named Marie ,His cousin Miss. Ophelia ,an honest and incredibly independent woman,lives with them to help care for Eva.Toms new home ,with the St.Clares, is in Louisiana where he is given the formal job of horse diver.
Eliza,Harry and George leave the Quakers and are soon confronted by Loker and his gang but they manage to once again evade them.George proclaims to them that he will stop at nothing and will become a free man.At his new home Tom is given the responsibility of keeping his masters books.Also he is spreading his good word by trying to reform his new master,who we learn feels he isnt cut out for slavery.Little Eva demonstrates the power of love when she helps Tom write a letter to his family with whom he is still in close contact. St.Clare and his brother have a heated discussion about slavery while Eva asks her cousin to try to love his slave.
Eva takes ill and soon dies but before she goes she asks her father to free Tom and he promises to do so. After Evas death Tom prays for her father.St.Clare signs off one of his slaves to Miss.Ophelia ,then before he he can free Tom, St.Clare is stabbed in a cafe and dies soon after.
Tom is sold along with all of the other slaves. He ends up being sold to a man named Legree,a cruel plantation owner,who also buys a beautiful young girl named Emmiline to replace his aging mistress,Cassy.Emmiline was bought despite her mothers attempts to disguise her beauty to save her from this fate.
At the plantation Toms goodness and faith is put to the test when he is told to whip a lagging slave to near death.But Tom refuses and he himself is nearly beaten to death.Toms new master takes a personal vengeance against Tom and beats him often.But Toms faith remains in God and he sings joyous hymns even while he is being severely beaten.
Tom continues bear his fate while he encourages Cassy and Emmiline to escape.He helps them plot and eventually escape.Before their escape he encourages Cassy and Emmiline to look for George,Eliza and Harry who he learns have,with the help of many kind individuals, have successfully made their way to Canada.But Tom pays dearly for his part in their escape.He is beaten to death.
This Book discusses love on many levels.Tom and his wife show how it is important to love God.Eva and St.Clare along with Mrs.Shellby and other characters through out the book demonstrate the importance of loving all humans.While Eliza and her family show how love will help a family through hard times.Also,Stowe weaves many examples of a mothers love into the story. She shows how hard slavery was on mothers who often had to deal with the lose of their young children.This book also addresses peoples desire for freedom not just from slavery but from everything that binds them in life.Uncle Toms Cabin demonstrates how some people ,especially the women of the South,though not truly slaves were not free.But they and the slaves alike made the best of their fate and fought it from within.
I found this book slightly boring.It lacked compelling scenes but was incredibly influential when it was first written.It makes a powerful statement about slavery especially through the deaths of the slaves.Harriet Beecher Stowe was referred to by Abe Lincoln as the little woman who started the Civil War.She also pointed out that the people of the North not only needed to feel duty when they fought for the freedom of the slaves but love for them and the human race.Uncle Toms Cabin would appeal to mostly people seriously interested in the Civil War.