"Uncle Tom's Cabin" Analytical Essay by Research Group

"Uncle Tom's Cabin"
Analyzes Sarah Smith Ducksworth's essay "Stowe's Construction of an African Persona and the Creation of White Identity for a New World Order".
# 26051 | 1,074 words | 1 source | MLA | 2002 | US
Published on Apr 24, 2003 in Literature (American) , English (Analysis) , African-American Studies (Slavery)

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Sarah Smith Ducksworth, writes about "Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Harriet Beecher Stowe. The paper discusses Ducksworth's view that most people probably think the book contains a vision of black and white unity, when in fact it only deplores slavery and does not foresee a world of racial equality and brotherhood. It shows how Ducksworth notes that there have been several critics of the book who have said that it is either irrelevant today or that it is simply a bad book filled with liberal platitudes and bias. Ducksworth examines the book closely and finds that the book remains important for students today for several reasons, but that at the same time students should be aware of the fact that the image of slaves in the book reflects the prevailing view of the nineteenth century more than readers might think.

From the Paper:

"The book remains important precisely because of the effect it had when it was published--it gave impetus to the abolitionist movement, pricked the conscience of many Americans about the issue of slavery, and may have contributed to the onset of the Civil War. Stowe wrote the book to express her displeasure with the fact of slavery and to show how demeaning slavery was, but this did not mean that she had a view of blacks and whites as equal. She did not, and instead her characters reflect her view that whites are superior and so should act in a superior manner, meaning a more moral manner. She shows how Stowe indicates this in her book first through the character of Young Master George Shelby, who is a near-saintly white boy and man whose abilities are extolled by the slaves because he seems to able to read and write when they have to struggle at it. Stowe has him read to a black church congregation which nearly swoons at the power of his words and his ability to read and speak to them. Stowe creates a range of white characters to show how slavery demeans whites, from the wonderful George Shelby to the dreadful Simon Legree, the latter a man completely absorbed by the slavery business so that he has no human feeling left at all. In between are whites with varying degrees of character defect based on their involvement with slavery."

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