The Mother-Child Bond in "Uncle Tom's Cabin" Book Review

The Mother-Child Bond in "Uncle Tom's Cabin"
An analysis of how "Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Harriet Beecher Stowe presents the greatest sin of slavery as the destruction of the mother and child bond.
# 151613 | 2,505 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2010 | US
Published on Jul 22, 2012 in Literature (American) , English (Analysis)

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This paper examines how in "Uncle Tom's Cabin", Harriet Beecher Stowe launches a persuasive appeal to mothers to form a united front against slavery. It discusses how she touched her readers' hearts with appeals to the primal concern for children and how, by drawing readers into the world of Uncle Tom, she argues against slavery as the destruction of families and the all important mother-child bond. Stowe shows that the power of a mother's love is what holds that bond together and the destruction of which can be fatal.

From the Paper:

"Stowe wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin in a sentimental style. This was one of the few styles available to women writers. This style invites readers to enter into the feelings of the characters. Readers feel connected to the suffering of the characters in the novel and recall their own similar experiences. The mother-child bond is one that everyone has experienced and shares with the characters from the mother's view or from the child's perspective. Stowe uses this union between reader and character to provoke an emotional response to the trauma of the separation of a mother and child. Noble explains how this style can be successful, "sentimentality exploits the pain of that ontological wound; ironically, allusions to loss in the genre function as a unifying mechanism" (Noble 66). In other words, the normal course of life requires some degree of separation of the child from the mother for the creation of identity and Stowe uses this commonality to build an emotional connection between text and reader. The sentimental style relies not on its often dramatic scenes, but on the shared pain and psychological reactions from its readers."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Dillon, Elizabeth Maddock. The Gender of Freedom: Fictions of Liberalism and the Literary Public Sphere. CA: Stanford University Press, 2004. Print.
  • Noble, Marianne. The Masochistic Pleasures of Sentimental Literature. NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000. Print.
  • Riss, Arthur. Race, slavery, and liberalism in nineteenth-century American literature. MA: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Print.
  • Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom's Cabin. NY: Oxford University Press, 1998. Print.
  • Van Buren, Jane Silverman. The Modernist Madonna: Semiotics of the Maternal Metaphor. Indiana: Indiana University Press. 1989. Print.

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