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Free Study Guide-Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe-Free Notes
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THEMES

Uncle Tom's Cabin predominantly deals with the horror and inhumanity of slavery. Stowe's criticism of the practice is overt. Slavery destroys families and Christian values. Slavery is an evil that must be resisted. Ignoring slavery is as destructive as practicing it.

The conflict between good and evil is a basic tenet of the anti- slavery theme. Tom is good and Legree is evil. In the end, Legree destroys Tom, but Tom is victorious. His martyrdom prompts George Shelby, a white plantation owner, to free his slaves and commit himself to the eradication of slavery.


As well, Christian values are encouraged. Stowe attacks many so-called Christian people and groups who support and justify slavery. Anything that breaks up homes and destroys lives must not be Christian. Therefore she introduces both humane and religious grounds for detesting slavery.

MOOD

Stowe's aim in writing Uncle Tom's Cabin is to stir public opinion against the institution of slavery. She achieves this aim with highly sensationalistic and sentimental anecdotes and stories. At times, modern readers might find the narrative heavy-handed and leading, but this is done with an aim to shock and horrify, to stir the senses, and to promote outrage at the evils of slavery. The mood in the story is often melodramatic and tragic.

At times, the narrative voice has a mood of its own, apart from the story. The narrative voice is sometimes scathingly critical, full of bitter irony and outrage. The author is passionate and pleading, trying her best to persuade her readership to turn against slavery at all costs, even death.

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