Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin

Paperback - 1981
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Uncle Tom, Topsy, Sambo, Simon Legree, little Eva- their names are American bywords, and all of them are characters in Harriet Beecher Stowe's remarkable novel of the pre-Civil War South. Uncle Tom's Cabin was revolutionary in 1852 for its passionate indictment of slavery and for its presentation of Tom, "a man of humanity," as the first black hero in American fiction. Labeled racist and condescending by some contemporary critics, it remains a shocking, controversial, and powerful work -- exposing the attitudes of white nineteenth-century society toward "the peculiar institution" and documenting, in heartrending detail, the tragic breakup of black Kentucky families "sold down the river." An immediate international sensation, Uncle Tom's Cabin sold 300,000 copies in the first year, was translated into thirty-seven languages, and has never gone out of print- its political impact was immense, its emotional influence immeasurable.
Publisher: New York : Bantam, 1981.
ISBN: 9780553212181
Characteristics: xviii, 451 p. ; 18 cm.


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Dec 04, 2020

Summary: Tells the story of two slaves. In the beginning of the story, Tom and Eliza are slaves on the same property. They are sold by their kind master to a trader. Eliza tries to escape to Canada while Tom accepts being sold down south. Tom then gets two new masters, of very different personalities. It compares the opinions of white people in the north and south; the northerners are shown to still have prejudice, they just don’t have slaves because they northerners don’t farm. Made me cry numerous times.


The titles of the chapters give too much away. But I think the book is inappropriately named. It doesn’t have much at all to do with Tom’s “cabin.” It’s more like Tom’s journey or Tom’s struggle . . . And Eliza’s too.

It seems that the author tried especially hard at making the characters talk as accented/improper as possible. I’d understand it if the words spoken were genuinely pronounced differently by these characters, but some words she just spells wrong even though the pronunciation remains the same: come/cum, nature/natur, maybe/mebbe, careless/car’less, other/uther, certain/sartin, says/ses, critter/crittur, just/jist.

“From the mother’s breast the colored child feels and sees that there are none but underhand ways open to it. It can get along no other way with its parents, its mistress, its young master and missie playfellows. Cunning and deception become necessary, inevitable habits. It isn’t fair to expect anything else of him. He ought not to be punished for it. As to honesty, the slave is kept in that dependent, semi-childish state, that there is no making him realize the rights of property, or feel that his master’s goods are not his own, if he can get them.” - Augustine, p. 239. This could easily be used as liberals’ excuse today for why there is so much crime in black neighborhoods, despite slavery being over. But liberals’ answer to the problem is more government intervention and handouts, which keeps blacks in a “dependent, semi-childish state.”

So many democrats want the government to do more providing. They want free housing, free healthcare, free food, etc. Well then all our wages would go to the government, who then pays for all our stuff. . . . Sounds like slavery!

Black people in slavery times knew they’d rather have freedom but have to work, rather than no work and no freedom. Many blacks today want more slavery as long as they don’t have to work!

Augustine’s brother Alfred believes “there can be no high civilization without enslavement of the masses, either nominal or real. There must, he says, be a lower class, given up to physical toil and confined to an animal nature; and a higher one thereby acquires leisure and wealth for a more expanded intelligence and improvement, and becomes the directing soul of the lower” (257). I think this is true, because wealthy people don’t do any hard labor. Their material possessions are made by overworked, underpaid factory workers in some far off place. Without those overworked, underpaid workers, we wouldn’t have all our nice things. One day those jobs might be replaced by robots, but then there will be an unemployment problem. The government can’t just fix that by giving UBI, because where is that tax money coming from if most people don’t have jobs?

The fact that the book emphasizes religion and hard work as the black’s salvation and hope is the reason why this book probably isn’t required reading in schools. Schools would rather emphasize white guilt, pity and reparations for blacks, holding government responsible for solutions, while holding the victim responsible for nothing.

Oct 17, 2020

Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a very moral book dedicated to showing its reader the unfairness that slaves had to go through in the past. It also ties deeply into religion and faith as that was the only hope the slaves had throughout their sufferings. The plot and storyline of the book was good, however the storytelling itself can be quite slow, and impatient readers would have trouble completing the book. This book is mainly ideal for readers who are curious about the slaves back in the 19th century and how their lives were back then. Overall, this is a very religious book, with its main moral being to put all your faith in God. In my opinion, the book conveyed a good message, but it was a very slow read. 3/5 stars. @Basilisk_0 of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board.

Sep 08, 2018

"Uncle Tom's Cabin" should forever have a place in your heart and mind. It was the second most popular book in the world, next to the bible, before and during the Civil War. President Lincoln credited the book for helping to start the war. I now will wonder when I hear the derogatory phrase that he or she is an "Uncle Tom" whether the user of that phrase ever read the novel. Tom was a beautiful insightful and intelligent person, and he sacrificed his life for his freedom and others. His character did and does so very much for the emancipation of slaves around the world.

Mar 06, 2018

I have often passed this book by because it was so thick and I simply didn't have the time. I finally picked up the audio version to see what all the fuss was about. I couldn't put it down after that. The writing seems like it could have been done yesterday- by a very talented writer. The picture is balanced; showing that not all white people were scandrals and not all people of color were innocent in this dark chapter of American history. Beecher Stowe's clever and sarcastic comments about slavery, as the narrator, were meant to move the nation toward a resolution that it wasn't yet ready to make. The publisher claims this book sold more copies than any other book, second to the Bible, and that it moved the nation closer to the brink of civil war. I'm sure it deserves both claims.

People have asked what my favorite book is from the many I have read. After reading this book, I finally have an answer to give them. This book is an amazing inspiration and is beautifully written. There are so many lessons to be learned from the characters. I love it!

Jul 21, 2014

My thoughts after reading this book and looking into the history of when it was written, and why: I think this piece of fiction change are world for the best in so many different ways; when it was written, and even now in our times.
From opening minds to debating if this piece of fiction could be the truth in the darkest days of slavery in the United States of America.

I am reading this book right now and LOVING it! Beautiful story. I expected it to be boring and full of too many details, as many old books are. But I was pleasantly surprised. This book is still a treasure, in spite of the fact it was written over one hundred years ago.

Mar 27, 2013

I loved this book.

patienceandfortitude Nov 15, 2011

This was a selection for my book club and I was dismayed because I didn't expect to enjoy it and it was longer than I anticipated. But as is frequently the case, I was wrong. I did enjoy the book and it even made me cry in several spots. It is good to read from a historical perspective and is an excellent story.

snowbird922 Aug 01, 2011

This book is unsurpassed by anything I have ever read in my life. It would be a dis-service to humanity to have never read this book. There are critics who say Tom's character bred the typical African American yes man. I however applaude his capacity and strenght to see that his soul could never be owned by his slave owner. Beecher-Stowe had a magnificent gift for writing and her words flowed through every fiber of my being. I can honestly say that no piece of literature will ever touch me as this book has. She is one of the greats.

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Dec 04, 2020

George Harris: “We have more than the rights of common men; we have the claim of an injured race for reparation. But, then, I do not want it; I want a country, a nation, of my own. . . . I go to Liberia, not as to an Elysium of romance, but as to a field of work. I expect to work with both hands, to work hard; to work against all sorts of difficulties and discouragements; and to work till I die” (478-479).

Dec 04, 2020

“I’d rather have poor clothes, poor house, poor everything, and have ‘em mine, than have the best, and have ‘em any man’s else” (Tom, 340).

But there, on the bed, lay her slumbering boy, his long curs falling negligently around his unconscious face, his rosy mouth half open, his little fat hands thrown out over the bed-clothes, and a smile spread like a sunbeam over his whole face. "Poor boy! poor fellow!" said Eliza; "they have sold you! but your mother will save you yet!"


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Dec 04, 2020

bell5133 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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