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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 14

Summary

As the boat travels along the Mississippi, Tom sits on the cotton bales on the upper deck and reads his Bible, watching as they pass plantation after plantation. He is homesick for Kentucky. On the journey, he has befriended a child, Evangeline St. Clare. She is young, around six, and is always dressed in white. She tries to alleviate the suffering of Haley's gang by distributing candy, nuts and oranges to them. Little Eva, as she is called, loves Tom and wants her father to purchase him from Haley.

One day when the boat stops at a small landing, Eva looses her balance and falls overboard. Before her father can dive in, Tom rescues her. Mr. St. Clare purchases Tom to be Little Eva's personal slave and friend.


Notes

This chapter returns to Tom's story. Tom has managed gain Haley's confidence. He is now allowed to roam unchained on the boat. Ever obliging, he is always ready to help during emergencies. His Bible is a source of comfort to him. Nevertheless, he is homesick. Tom's goodness results in a special affection from Eva St. Clare, a loving little girl very much like him in her ever-apparent goodness.

When Tom rescues Eva, he does so without selfish thought or ulterior motive. It is a selfless, humanitarian act. Indirectly, this helps Tom, since the grateful father purchases him from Haley. Stowe's Christian belief in the rewards of goodness is evidenced here. For the time being the readers are reassured of the fact that Tom has a kind and considerate master.

This chapter also introduces two new characters: Eva and Augustine St. Clare. Eva has a remarkably deep spiritual gravity about her. She is simple and childlike. She shows such sorrow and concern over the chained slaves that it is hard to believe she is a little girl. She intercedes earnestly on Tom's behalf, urging her father to buy him. All in all, she is an angelic child. Indeed the stanza in the beginning of the chapter sums her up very appropriately:

"A young star! which shone O'er life -- too sweet an image for such glass! A lovely being, scarcely formed or moulded; A rose with all its sweetest leaves yet folded."

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