Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Uncle Tom's CabinAnother book long overdue on my list and one whose renown is well deserved.  While the basis of the book was known to me, the complexity of the characters and the powerful role of faith were not.

Set in the mid 19th century, Kentucky landowner Arthur Shelby finds himself indebted to an unscrupulous slave trader and feels he has no choice but to sell his best hand, Tom and the young son of his wife’s maid, Harry.

Stowe has a knack for presenting a range of views on slavery in America and the coping skills that arose in order to survive such an unimaginable and hopeless life.

Uncle Tom, the book’s namesake is a man of extreme beliefs.  He is hardworking and patient and accepts his lot in life with little or no complaints.  A martyr in the true sense of the word, he is able to stand up and against cruelty while never seeming rebellious.  Such a good man surely is to be delivered.

George Harris, husband to Eliza, the Shelby maid, is angry when his knack for business is thwarted by his master who is threatened by his intelligence and ideas.  He wants to lash out at those who hold him down and questions the existence of a god who would allow such poor treatment and suffering to men of color.  He proclaims his intention of becoming a free man, at any cost, and sets out to do just that.

Marie Augustine, the self-centered hypochondriacal wife of a wealthy Louisiana man sees nothing and no one outside of her self.  While her daughter lay dying, she continues to complain of her own ailments and states her daughter has only a cough.  Cruel to the servants around her, she outlives her husband and daughter and the fate of the family servants lies within her cruel and selfish hands.

Cassy, a hardened woman enslaved at a plantation owned by a brutal Simon Legree has just about given up on life.  She cares for no one and longs for death and wonders why she is still living when Tom arrives.  A series of events unfold and Cassy comes to see why her life was not taken.

I believe I’d find a kindred spirit in Ms. Stowe and we’d have quite a time together.  Her upbringing, education, acquaintances and her public stance as an abolitionist  all combined make for creating great literature and I’d hope to glean some of her talents.

My rating for Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a 9 out of 10.

Please share your own reviews or comments by using the link below.

Next up, Nathanael West’s Miss LonelyheartsMiss Lonelyhearts

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