Feminism in "Uncle Tom's Cabin"
An analysis of the rights of women in the United States in the 1850s and the portrayal of women in "Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Harriet Beecher Stowe.
# 101122 | 2,250 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2008
Published on Feb 19, 2008 in Literature (American) , History (U.S. Impending Crisis, 1848-1860) , English (Analysis)
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This paper analyzes the concept of feminism in "Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Harriet Beecher Stowe, which was written in response to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which made it illegal to aid fugitive slaves. The paper describes the rights of women in the United States in the 1850s and compares this to the way that Stowe portrays the women in her novel.
From the Paper:"Many believe that because Stowe does not encourage active rebellion from her female characters, that she, too, is submitting herself to the expectations of a patriarchal society, and therefore harming the progress of women. However, Stowe takes many concepts of femininity, usually viewed as negative, repressive concepts, and turns them into a positive mode of activism for repressed women everywhere. Stowe seems to be urging women to accept their status as women, and to use that status to their advantage. She suggests that women can further their movement by inspiring their husbands and children to act as righteously as they do, in turn setting a moral example for all to follow. As Ammons, notes, "In the novel Stowe accepts the definition of women popular at the mid-century... and has no quarrel with the set of qualities commonly partitioned to [women]. For her, femininity means unshakable allegiance to the Christian values of faith, hope, charity, mercy, and self-sacrifice; purity in body and mind; ethical dependence more on emotion than reason; submission to the mundane authority except when it violates higher laws: and protection of the home as a scared inviolable institution." By encouraging women to embrace domesticity, Stowe suggests that by worrying themselves with the things men are concerned with, a woman loses sight of what is important, and that is the family and God."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Ammons, Elizabeth. "Heroines in Uncle Tom's Cabin." American Literature 49.2 (1977): 161- 179.
- Crozier, Alice C. The Novels of Harriet Beecher Stowe. New York: Oxford. 1969.
- Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom's Cabin. New York: Bantam Books. 1951-2.
- Stowe, Charles Edward. The Life of Harriet Beecher Stowe Complied from Her Letters and Journals. Boston: 1889.
- Thornton, Tracey. "Between the Rhetoric of Abolition and Feminism: Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin." Old Dominion University. 1998. <http://www.womenwriters.net/ domesticgoddess/thornton.htm>.
Cite this Book Review:
Feminism in "Uncle Tom's Cabin" (2008, February 19) Retrieved February 28, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/book-review/feminism-in-uncle-tom-cabin-101122/
"Feminism in "Uncle Tom's Cabin"" 19 February 2008. Web. 28 February. 2020. <https://www.academon.com/book-review/feminism-in-uncle-tom-cabin-101122/>