Uncle Toms Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stow is a novel that addresses the controversial issues of slavery, having an awe-inspiring impact on American culture. Not only does it provide the reader with a feminist view on the role of women, but still raises concern of racism in todays society. It has also has been the subject of constant criticism being banned from many schools, though portraying the smaller more personal tragedies caused by the slavery industry. By showing the harm that had been done to individuals the author emphasizes the belief that slaves are not property but human beings.
The novel takes place in the South during the pre-Civil War, as Harriet Beecher Stow uses the characters to accentuate how life was like during this time period. As the main character and clearly a Christ-like figure, Uncle Tom is determined to better himself not only as an individual, but also as a better Christian. Though he may seem submissive throughout the book, his love for all people is felt by everyone, including the courageous and young women, Eliza.
After learning that that her five-year old son had been sold to another salve owner she is determined to escape, barely making it to Canada after almost being captured. During her frightful experience she is reunited with her husband, highlighting her fierce love for her family. Not only does she serve as an example of how slavery can both separate and destroy a family, but proves the dangers that one must endure in order to escape the cause of these horrors. Seen as one of the most infamous character in American literature, Simon Legree is what many envision when thinking of Southern slave owners.
He is an alcoholic who forces his workers into long hours of labor, in addition to beating them, and providing them with no more than dirty clothes, spoiled food, and a poor excuse for a home. Uncle Toms Cabin is a novel written in order to depict the human cruelty of slavery. Though many of his owners are not characterized as cruel masters, he is sold four times in order to pay off debts which can no longer be avoided. Because he is loyal to all of his masters, he is often one of the most liked and trusted slaves, for his firm belief in the Bible will not allow him to rebel.
It is because of this determination that will bring him to the end of his life, as he also suffered and died for his beliefs, once again bringing about Christ-like imagery. After being bought by the notorious Simon Legree, Tom experiences first hand the cruelty that the slave industry has brought about. His need to see his slaves grovel so that he can feel superior to them causes Legree to dislike Uncle Tom who will not use force against anyone, submitting to Simons beatings without resent.
It is during one of his drunken stages that Tom is beaten to death, serving as a symbol of Stowes strong belief that slavery can cause great suffering, claiming the life of innocent young beings. As a result of such a tragic ending, Stowe ends the novel with a long chapter about the cruel an unchristian institution of slavery, hoping that many will understand her beliefs, and over time realize the great amount of suffering and distress they caused not just to African Americans but to all Americans.
Although considered controversial, till this day this moving novel has had a tremendous impact on Americans. It is for this reason alone that I highly recommend Uncle Toms Cabin. Not only has its message been heard all through out the world, but has had a profound effect on our nation, such as the slowly changing views of Christianity. Novels such as these will always be considered significant for its message is still an important one; nonetheless, Harriet Beecher Stowe has managed to influence American culture and society more than one hundred years after Uncle Toms Cabin was published.