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Uncle Tom’s Cabin: An Analysis Of Racism

1529 words - 7 pages

Uncle Tom’s Cabin: An Analysis of Racism
Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, is a novel written before the Civil War that mainly follows the journey of three slaves and their experiences in and out of slavery along the way. The novel portrays the impact of slavery on blacks as well as whites. Stowe’s mission was to bring the cruelty of slavery to realization. Understandably, there are many controversial views on whether or not this novel was written on behalf of racist beliefs. Throughout the book Stowe draws in-depth pictures on what African Americans went through and how things really were, including stereotypes, dialect, torture, and inequality. Many people believe ...view middle of the document...

In an article from Novels for Students, essayist Thomas P. Joswick claims that Stowe was enraged by slave laws stating in the last chapter, “There is, actually, nothing to protect the slave’s life, but the character of the master.” He goes on to state, “The slaves only right under the law is his or her economic value and the justice of the law promotes only the owner’s self interest” (Joswick 313). Joswick believes that in order for slavery to be ended, the character of the south has to be changed as a whole rather than the passing of a law (Joswick 313). It is Joswick’s opinion, along with Stowe’s that morality cannot be changed in a legislative act, it has to be changed from within by the people of the south (Joswick 314). Aside from the Fugitive Slave Act, Harriet Beecher Stowe also strived to put an end to slavery.
In contrast to popular belief that Uncle Tom’s Cabin contains racism, Thomas Graham wrote an article, “Harriet Beecher Stowe and the Question of Race,” based on his opinion that essays stating that this is a racist novel conveyed a sort of injustice to Stowe by misinterpreting her attitudes or views concerning African-Americans and slavery (Graham 128). Although in Graham’s essay, he does introduce an opposing view concluding that Stowe’s antislavery writings may have expressed attitudes, which reinforce operative ideas of African American inferiority, but her sole purpose was to promote for, “the full, equal brotherhood of all men” (Graham 133). Graham argues that Stowe only wanted to make her readers view African-Americans as equal beings (Graham128). Thus, this influenced Stowe to write this novel in hopes of achieving equality. Stowe expresses her views through her novel, “It is because the negro is considered an inferior animal and not worthy of any better treatment, that the system which relates to him and the treatment which falls to him are considered humane” (Stowe 47). In this melodramatic novel, Stowe not only uses the apparent unjust lack of freedom to help the reader better understand what America was going through, but she also uses the separation of enslaved families to trigger the reader’s feelings. In an article from Novels for Students, the authors state, “The tearful separation of Uncle Tom from his wife and children, and Cassy’s devastating story about her children being sold away from her, Stowe powerfully demonstrates that slaves are human beings who need, desire, and deserve family attachments” (Students 305). While Stowe argues that Uncle Tom’s Cabin is not racist, many people will argue that it is, indeed, a racist novel.
Many people argue that Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a racist novel, however, Stowe did not intend for it to be. She only wanted to point out the unfairness and horrific cruelty that stripped African Americans of their rights and freedom and degraded to nothing but property to whites. In the article “Everybody’s Protest Novel,”...

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