title: Uncle Tom’s Cabin
author: Harriet Beecher Stowe
genre: Fiction, slavery, freedom, faith
dates read: September 21st – September 24th
review: 5 out of 5 stars
summary: Uncle Tom and Aunt Chloe are the slaves of Mr. and Mrs. Shelby, kindly Kentucky slave-owners who have fallen on hard times and are forced to sell Tom to pay off debt. The trader who has come to collect decides that he also wants to buy Harry, the young son of Eliza and George. Overhearing the fate of her son, Eliza flees with Harry. Unable to capture her, the trader takes Tom south to be sold at auction. The story follows Eliza and Tom as they reach for freedom and reunification of family.
personal thoughts: I knew this would be a tough read, given the subject matter. What I didn’t expect was to laugh out loud at some of the things the benevolent narrator would say. The dialogue between slave owners who had different philosophies on slave management was very interesting and frustrating. Each side was (of course) convinced that theirs was correct and I think Stowe was respectful of both sides of the argument. I loved how much faith played into each story, how those who were Christian did their best to live out their beliefs (for the most part). Tom’s faith was especially inspiring and beautiful. Loved this book.
“he really seemed somehow or other to fancy that his wife had piety and benevolence enough for two-to indulge a shadowy expectation of getting into heaven through her superabundance of qualities to which he made no particular pretension.” p. 11
“the flashing eye, the gloomy and troubled brow, were part of a natural language that could not be repressed,–indubitable signs, which showed too plainly that the man could not become a thing.” p. 14
“There are in this world blessed souls, whose sorrows all spring up into joys for others; whose earthly hopes, laid in the grave with many tears, are the seed from which spring healing flowers and balm for the desolate and the distressed.” p. 99
“who, sir, makes the trader? Who is most to blame? The enlightened, cultivated, intelligent man, who supports the system of which the trader is the inevitable result, or the poor trader himself? You make the public statement that calls for his trade, that debauches and depraves him, till he feels no shame in it; and in what are you better than he?” p. 150
“So much has been said and sung of beautiful young girls, why don’t somebody wake up to the beauty of old women?” p. 152
“’Religion! Is that what you hear at church, religion? Is that which can bend and turn, and descend and ascend, to fit every crooked phase of selfish, worldly society, religion? Is that religion which is less scrupulous, less generous, less just, less considerate for man, then even my own ungodly, worldly, blinded nature? No! When I look for a religion, I must look for something above me, and not something beneath.” p. 208
“But at midnight,–strange, mystic hour!–when the veil between the frail present and the eternal future grows thin,–then came the messenger!” p. 335