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Free Study Guide-Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe-Free Notes
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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES

CHAPTER 6

Summary

Eliza's escape is discovered the next morning. Mrs. Shelby is relieved, hoping that Eliza will escape uncaught. Mr. Shelby, on the other hand, is afraid Mr. Haley will blame him, which he does. Shelby offers his assistance to Mr. Haley in retrieving the lost "property" by means of a horse from his stable. He sends a slave named Andy to find another slave named Black Sam. Black Sam is in charge of the horses. Andy finds Black Sam and informs him that Mr. Shelby wants the horses immediately in order to go after the escapees. Andy also warns Black him that Mrs. Shelby does not want Eliza to be caught. Black Sam, though a little dull, understands the unspoken. He delays getting the horses together in order to give Eliza more lead-time. Then he picks up a sharp beechnut and slips it under the saddle of Haley's horse so that the least pressure will make it throw him.


As expected, Haley is frantic and spurs the horse onward. The horse throws him. Andy and Black Sam chase the horse pretending to do their best to catch it. When they do finally bring the horse it is already noon. Sam tells Haley the horses will have to be rubbed down, and suggests he wait a bit. Mrs. Shelby, on cue, invites Haley for dinner, thus gaining more time for Eliza to get on with her run.

Notes

Mrs. Shelby's behavior is comically heroic as she does all she can to hinder the search, making her an exceptional character who really hates slavery and does her best to undermine it at the same time she supports it. Her position is best viewed as one of passive aggression against the institution of slavery. The comedy of the scene continues in the behavior of Andy and Black Sam, both of whom also subvert the mission to retrieve Eliza and Harry. Black Sam is particularly entertaining in this chapter.

On hearing that Tom has been sold, he immediately thinks Mr. Shelby will put him in Tom's position. He is quite willing to catch Eliza as per his Mr. Shelby's orders. However, when he hears that Mrs. Shelby is against Eliza's capture, he very smartly does all in his power to delay Haley's departure. In an act that reveals Mrs. Shelby's goodness, Black Sam chooses to do her bidding rather than have her upset with him.

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