The epitome of the 19’” century; Uncle Tom‘s Cabin illuminated the inhumanity of slavery to the American public, leading it to eventually become the bestselling novel of that century. Stowe’s abolitionist ideals expressed through the novel stirred and boiled up emotions for people of the North, compelling them to support to the abolitionist cause. in fact, the novel brought such controversy and tension between the North and South, it eventually was poised as one of the sparks that ignited the Civil War.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin was an eye-opener to the public, in the fact that it urged you to sympathize with the slaves and look at their treatment from a morally Christian and humane perspective. The novel indeed agitated the South for its portrayal of them being barbarically cruel animals. Nonetheless, it stands alone as the book the defined and sparked the Civil war as a symbol of the cruelty of slavery, and what it truly means be Christian.
Even still today, no novel has defined the slavery era like Stowe’s had. Perhaps the most influential aspect of the story is its statement that slavery cannot exist in society with Christian values and morals. In the following paragraphs, I will explain to you how faith and Christianity is expressed throughout the novel in the form of God»given perseverance, repentance with growth, and Christ-like figures. Firstly we see, that throughout the novel, Stowe depicted how strongly Faith and belief in God instilled the characters with perseverance and the ability to overcome odds due to miraculous occurrences.
For example, when Eliza finally decides to cross the Ohio River by jumping from each ice-block to the next, Stowe portrays the she had possessed a sort of spiritual strength that God only gave to the desperate Eliza’s faith in God is what granted her the confidence and fearlessness she needed in order to save herself by risking her life and crossing the frigid ice—cold waters of the Ohio River.
Another reason Stowe implemented this scene was to illustrate a symbol in which crossing that river meant crossing from slavery into freedom, This is the epitome of examples in Uncle Tom’s Cabin emphasizing how belief in faith and God helped restore hope for those thinking they wouldn‘t be able to gain freedom. Even when Uncle Tom’s faith and spirit started to diminish at Legree‘s plantation, he was visited by biblical visions in which restored his hope and gave him the moral strength to sustain him against Legree’s torture. Stowe is stressing the very nature of how faith in God will give any desperate soul the courage they need, while representing the slaves as fellow humans who look to their Christianity and seek God in times of struggle and hardship. In Eva’s case, during her death, she was able to perceive and witness a view into heaven and astonishingly describes it to those surrounding her. Although, it did not have any relevance to instilling perseverance, it did however affirm her purity of that of an angel, as she described heaven like one would describe a dream.
Stowe’s effort to find a common ground between slaves and the whites is what truly reinvigorated society, as faith was expressed almost like a sanctuary in which the slaves turned to in times of personal hardship. As we read, we find that Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin in order to act as an eye-opener for the Northerners by illustrating how the evils of slavery is impacted by numerous ends. Mainly, it was to show the immorality and cruelty behind slavery, but it also exposed a few tales of fighting evil with love instead of violence. Fighting oppression and fears with openness and unconditional kindness. With this, Stowe explored how many whom were evil and prejudice before, could turn and grow into that of a loving soul. The prime example in the story is character of Ophelia Stt Clare, the middle-aged Northerner who disagrees with slavery but refuses to interact with any slaves. When Ophelia interacts with Topsy, she tries to teach her how to do household chores, yet she absolutely dreads the idea of touching and her.
Eventually, after Eva’s death, Ophelia learns to be open-minded and accept Topsy as a fellow human being, while also striving to learn to love her unconditionally like Eva did. Stowe enforced this stereotype of the Northerners by exploring this character. By showing her prime audience and reader that even if they oppose slavery, yet are also disgusted by them, they are nothing more than common racists, By removing this blindfold and exposing this to her readers, it could potentially allow them to rethink about who they are and how they can overcome that racial stereotype by being open-minded and accepting of slaves through unconditional love. To a lesser extent, this idea of repentance and learning to realize one’s sins was also applied to the character of Tom Loker. When Tom Loker went after Eliza and George, he was injured along the way by getting shot by George.
George and Eliza then take pity on him and refuse to hurt the enemy, thus letting him heal his wounds with the Quakers. He then radically changes and abandons his cruel ways after realizing the kindness of the Quakers and the Harris‘s, This repentance and growth to love for both instances can even be represented by the biblical tale of “Saul to Paul”. This tale describes a cruel man by the name of Saul who murderously threatens the Lord’s disciples. After his encounter with Jesus, who commanded him to stop persecuting the people, Saul is transformed into a new man by the name of Paul, who now spreads love and kindness. As you can see, Stowe’s tales in Uncle Tom’s Cabin have a vast variety of connections to religious stories found in the bible. Most of which, involve forgiving of sins and repentance. This showing, Stowe’s use of forgiveness and repentance embodies how only true kindness can combat evil thoughts and actions. Lastly, we come to wonder the true meaning of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The meaning that completely sums up the theme of what Stowe had tried to communicate throughout all the pages.
Faith, in the spiritual form of God and heaven, to the human form of Jesus. The stories of Jesus and how in a world filled with anger, violence, and evil, that even one candle can illuminate a vast darkness. in the story we have come to follow and observe the journey of Tom and how he deeply hides his true feelings towards slavery, by masking it with the feelings of acceptation and love. Stowe uses Tom as the primary protagonist who we see as a man who uses Faith and trusts in God as his reason to live, love, and never lose hope, However, most people today, relate the term “Uncle Tom” to that of a white-people pleaser, of which he dearly isn’t. Tom despises slavery as much as everyone else, but chooses to rid himself of all hate and anger, by enforcing values of love and kindness to everyone. Everywhere he goes, Torn manages to instill some sense of love and kindness in order to help others alleviate the pain and struggles of slavery.
Tom shows he is the epitome of Christian values for both the slaves and the Whites, generally representing what it means to be a selflessly good person, although some may say his character lacks reality of the common man, but I argue that his character was meant to represent a Christ— like figure and not just any biblical character. Later in the story we then are introduced to the character of Evangeline St. Clare whom Torn saves, and is later purchased her father for doing so. In Stowe’s world, Eva represents sort of an angelic saint (Evgggline aka angel) whom of which became great friends with Tom. Eva, like Tom, is also used to represent an ideal symbol of a loving and caring person who unconditionally shows kindness to everyone. As we later read, Eva’s main duty is spread love to everyone most notably Topsy. Eva by showing complete unconditional love to Topsy, further acts like a catalyst for Ophelia like i said earlier, transforming her into someone accepting of slaves.
Even though she doesn’t die in Christ-like martyr way, she still illuminates the darkness around her with love, even describing heaven as if she was a saintly angel. The bond between Tom and Eva is symbolic of that of Jesus and one of his saintly disciples, whom both share and discuss their mutual Christian faith. After Eva and Augustine St. Clare’s death, we unfortunately see Tom being auctioned off again. Only this time, he is purchased by the nefarious and ruthless Simon Legree, a slave owner whom of which possesses absolutely no morality or kindness. As Stowe conveys the story, we now see subtle details and imagery depicting the descent of reality into that of a sorrowful and hateful hell also known as the Legree plantation. With these subtle clues, we can already foreshadow that encountering the human devil is the final test of Tom’s faith and morality.
In Legree’s plantation, we see a metaphor of hell so nefarious in all aspects, even the slaves turn on each other. After confiscating a bible from Tom and realizing he possessed hope, he made it his number one goal to crush that very hope by viciously treating Tom trying ever so hardly to strangle his spirit and belief in God However, he continues to stay true to his values and morals by helping his fellow slaves like Lucy when she needed more cotton or Cassy and Emmeline by not telling Legree where they were. After all, Legree was a rapist, murderer, and torturer who under any circumstances would be worthy of murder, yet Torn chooses to avoid this easy path in order to stick his morals and use love and kindness as his weapon almost like Gandhi did against the British. Simon Legree almost identically represented the story in the bible of the devilish man known as Pontius Pilate who condemned Jesus Christ to crucifixion for his belief in God and his spread of unconditional love and kindness.
Legree like Pilate with Jesus, absolutely despises Tom and sees his radical view of unconditional love as a threat to his other slaves, eventually leading him to believe that murdering Tom is a necessary action. As Legree viciously tries to kill Tom’s spirit, he repeatedly fails. Finding Tom’s immortal love for him unfathomable, Legree ultimately chooses evil by continuing beat Tom until death, Tom’s encounter with Jesus gave him the strength and courage to die in a Christ-like fashion, while also allowing him to spread bits of love and mercy to Sambo and Quimbo who also beat him earlier. His death greeted the now older George Shelby, whom was so torn from Tom’s martyr death, he decided to go and free all the slaves on his plantation thus painting Uncle Tom as an everlasting Christian symbol whose love changed the lives of many.
Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin revolutionized our outlook on slavery by showing the evils of it and how their httmanity and will to live is expressed their deep beliefs and faiths in God. This common connection of faith is what allowed many readers to connect to some of the characters and to understand that a true Christian in any society cannot tolerate at all the enslavement of a fellow human being. This story also, as I’ve said, represented and symbolized numerous biblical stories in order to cement the relation of how faith was used to instill courage, repentance, and love between others. We’ve seen how true unconditional love and faith in God is the true meaning of what it means to be a good person emblemized by the Christ-like nature of Tom and the angelic yet saintly nature of Eva.
Stowe tells us that it only takes love and true to faith to understand that slavery is immoral and wrong on so many levels and that everyone is equal and capable of love. Her attempts to connect with the reader on an emotional, political, and religious level is truly aweeinspiringly brilliant as she succeeds in producing one of the greatest if not the greatest novel representing slavery in society. Her work in Uncle Tom’s Cabin still today, will remain as an emblem to the fact that true faith is an expression of unconditional love and kindness through the power of knowing not even the darkest of evils can oppress the power of love.