Uncle Tom's Cabin - Wikipedia
Uncle Tom's Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly is an anti-slavery novel by that they have a benevolent relationship with their slaves, Shelby decides to raise the While on board, Tom meets and befriends a young white girl named Eva. . We have some general advice on how to use our site on our Getting. Uncle Tom and Little Eva. Made in Staffordshire, after Earthenware Object number See this object at Bolton Museum and Archive Service This . This Berlin worked, or needleworked, image of Uncle Tom and Eva probably occupied a in the published song music “Little Eva: Uncle Tom's Guardian Angel.” most highly the values carried by Natty, his Indian friends, and their relationship. . Many mid-nineteenth-century domestic advice books for an audience.
A manufacturer did not have to obtain from the copyright holder permission to produce commodities based on the copyrighted work. Copyright holders frequently produced tie-ins in the form of books.
In the publishing and literary world of the late eighteenth-century through the beginning of the twentieth century, publishers and authors rarely produced non-literary tie-ins such as mementoes, statues, needlework, and items of clothing. Nevertheless, publishers including Jewett realized the potential of non-literary tie-ins.
For example, he paid John Greenleaf Whittier fifty dollars to write a poem about Little Eva, which he had set to music above right. Because existing law did not deem that the characters, objects, and images associated with a text belonged to the author or copyright holder, anyone or any business might appropriate such a popular object and reproduce it for profit.
Literary tie-ins arose with modern consumerism, and as historian Peter N. Stearns argues, this phenomenon first appeared in Western Europe even before the industrial revolution.
It was an American book, and it generated more tie-ins than any other pre-twentieth-century book. Almost all these goods were produced for the expanding transatlantic market of middle- to upper-class consumers. Because of the popularity of Uncle Tom, both the book and stage show, every manufacturer of products such as textiles, books, games, and other paper entertainment products, decorative arts including wallpaper, ceramics and metal work who could push goods by associating them with the novel or play did so.
At the high end of consumer goods inspired by the novel stand some very expensive objects — a large piece of Berlin work or needlework featuring Uncle Tom and Eva, a girandole or candlestick, and Limoges spill vases. Though these objects are rarified in terms of their high prices, they participated fully in the popular culture of their day because of their subject matter and composition.
To hear song, click image. To see handkerchief, click image. Click image to enlarge. This Berlin worked, or needleworked, image of Uncle Tom and Eva probably occupied a central position on a wall. Berlin work refers to tapestries or needlework stitched with brightly colored wool following patterns printed in Berlin, Germany. In the mid-nineteenth-century marketplace, the Tom and Eva pattern was just one of over 40, patterns available.
Most Berlin work came in sizes smaller than the Tom and Eva and featured animals, country life, or religious figures. The large-sized piece featuring Uncle Tom and Eva probably had, though it cannot be said for sure, a well-to-do purchaser and stitcher. She had to be able to afford this imported, commercially designed piece of needlework, to have extensive time free from her own housework and child care to finish it, and a wall large enough to display it on.
To maximize the size of their potential market, manufacturers of printed Berlin designs usually offered non-controversial content. Despite the atypicality of its price, the girandole as well as inexpensive earthenware figures depended upon a hierarchy of size and bisymmetrical arrangement.
In these girandoles and other decorative arts, literary characters are often paired, and this pairing replicates the construction of characters in their literary sources. Characters often appeared in duos: Such a dual system fitted nineteenth-century literary and aesthetic taste as well as cultural politics in which it took two to make a complete one. Paired figures are found on both inexpensive ceramic figures and this expensive girandole. In the center stood a grouping including Natty Bumppo and Chingachgook.
With this center, the tripartite composition establishes a hierarchy: With Natty and the Mohicans in the largest central grouping of figures, the overall design of this tripartite suite rates most highly the values carried by Natty, his Indian friends, and their relationship. Limoges Spill Vases, c. Click either image to enlarge. Both girandoles and vases were expensive discretionary purchases that well-to-do consumers alone could afford.
It is impossible to know exactly when these vases entered the United States. They may have been used in France or England until their importation in the second half of the twentieth century by an American collector of Stowe-related or antislavery themed items. The vases started their commercial life in the Limoges region of France, in the s. There, factories produced durable porcelain that could be shaped in intricately fashioned molds and that when fired and glazed approached a pure white color.
These particular vases were molded and given their first high temperature firing at the French factory. After the decoration to the main body was completed, the vases received a second firing at very high heat after which they were shipped to decorating studios and shops throughout Europe and the United States. New York City was first among American coastal cities as a center for porcelain finishing because it attracted immigrants from Europe with the skills necessary for completing the design.
She experiences a vision of heaven on her deathbed, and St. Clare vows to free Tom in her honor. Before he can fulfill his promise, however, St. Tom is purchased by a hateful plantation owner, Simon Legree, who tries to crush Tom's faith.
Legree also procures a beautiful girl named Emmeline with the intention of using her to replace his current slave mistress, Cassy. While working in the cotton fields, Tom assists a fellow slave with her work. Legree sees this and orders Tom to whip the slave whom he helped. Tom refuses, prompting a savage beating from Legree.
Cassy consoles Tom and begs her master to leave him alone. Soon afterward, Cassy and Emmeline escape from the plantation. When Tom keeps silent about his knowledge of the escape, Legree beats him for hours on end. George Shelby, who has been searching for Tom, arrives two days later, and Tom dies from his wounds in Shelby's presence. Later, Shelby coincidentally leaves town on the same boat as Cassy and Emmeline. The two fugitive slaves are disguised, but Cassy worries that Shelby has somehow identified her and proceeds to tell him the details of her situation.
A fellow passenger, Madame de Thoux, engages Shelby in conversation. They are reunited in Montreal, head to Paris where Harris receives a college educationand finally settle in Liberia, a West African nation populated with freed American slaves. In the meantime, Shelby returns home to the family farm and liberates the remaining slaves. He implores them to reflect upon their freedom when they think about Tom's cabin on the Shelby property.
Specifically, Stowe cited her outrage over the passing of the Fugitive Slave Act of —which made it illegal to assist runaway slaves and obligatory to help recapture them—as her motivation for publishing the novel.
Uncle Tom's Cabin focuses on the horrors of bondage, presenting it as un-Christian, uncivil, and inherently evil. Stowe addressed the question of slavery from a variety of angles, depicting even the best-case enslavement situations as morally reprehensible.
How Harriet Beecher Stowe was Inspired to Write Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Through her portrayal of the relatively kind treatment of slaves by the Shelbys and St. Clares, for instance, Stowe demonstrated the casual acceptance of slavery by otherwise decent, compassionate people.
Although Arthur Shelby and Augustine St. Clare, take action on Tom's behalf. Stowe also highlighted the external circumstances complicating the complicit behavior of slaveholders. For example, the Shelbys only sell Tom out of economic necessity, and St. Clare's benevolent intentions are thwarted by his grief-stricken and insensitive wife.
On the other hand, the interlude with Senator and Mrs. Bird suggests that outwardly unsympathetic people have the capacity to facilitate positive changes.
Stowe's rendering of the explicit hardships on the Legree plantation serve to strengthen the argument against slavery, evincing the blatantly cruel and barbaric side of the system of servitude. Moreover, Legree's antagonistic response to Tom's deep-rooted faith advances the characterization of Uncle Tom as a Christ figure and advocates the novel's concern with Christianity as a remedy for the slaveholding mentality.
Throughout the novel, Tom exhibits a Christ-like passivity toward his tormentors, and his spiritually informed sense of morality encourages the personal growth of those around him. Stowe further established the redemptive power of Christianity and its tenet of universal love through Tom Loker's religious conversion subsequent to his confrontation with Eliza and George Harris. Uncle Tom's Cabin also underscores the moral strength and integrity of women, suggesting their power to convince the men around them of slavery's ills.
The book implies similarities between the oppression of African Americans and women in mid-nineteenth-century America, promoting the notion that socially marginalized groups can provide invaluable aid and support to each other's causes. The novel was generally well-received in the North, notwithstanding the claim among some abolitionists that Stowe's portrayal of slave culture was too lenient. Southern reviewers, in contrast, accused Stowe of slander, and several authors responded with "anti-Tom" novels written in defense of slavery.
In the mid-twentieth century, commentators faulted Stowe for propagating racial stereotypes, interpreting the character of Tom as a servile and impotent man in acceptance of his inferiority rather than a noble individual with deep religious convictions.
The term "Uncle Tom," therefore, carries a pejorative connotation in popular culture. Despite these criticisms, scholarly interest in the work from a historical, religious, and feminist perspective has continued to thrive. Recent studies have focused on the novel's portrayal of domestic life among the slaves and their masters, deeming it culturally salient but artistically maudlin.
Similarly, scholars have emphasized the centrality of the domestic milieu in Uncle Tom's Cabin, addressing similar concerns in Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Critics also have analyzed the role of religion in Stowe's narrative, specifically focusing on the saintly status assigned to the characters of Tom and Eva.
Others have centered on Stowe's accounts of the physical abuse endured by Tom and the other slaves, arguing that the author's descriptions of violence intimate a religious ecstasy bordering on the erotic. Although Stowe was a practicing Christian, some reviewers have attributed the novel's strong ethical foundation to the writings of esoteric spiritualist Emmanuel Swedenborg.
Additionally, critics have studied the remarkable commercial success of Uncle Tom's Cabin, construing it as an indicator of prevailing notions of masculinity in nineteenth-century America. The widespread appeal of the book also has been credited to Stowe's evenhanded dispersal of blame and sympathy among Northern and Southern characters.
Uncle Tom's Cabin stirred the conscience of the nation at a time of indisputable significance, making Stowe's penetrating polemic, according to critic Cynthia Griffin Wolff, "perhaps the most brilliantly successful piece of political writing in history.
How Harriet Beecher Stowe was Inspired to Write Uncle Tom’s Cabin
A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp. Religious Poems Poganuc People: The Aesthetics of Sentiment in the Work of Stowe. Clare pantry, "the more hiding-holes Dinah could make for the accommodation of old rags, hair combs, ribbons, cast-off artificial flowers, and other articles of vertu wherein her soul delighted" I The revelation of the cook's pomade stored in a gilded china dish further alarms the guest from Vermont, for whom such an unpalatable mix as Dinah's "har grease" in her "mistress's best saucers" bespeaks only the jumble of the savage mind I Ophelia determines that Old Dinah is hopelessly "shif'less" and that Dinah's mistress, the indolent aristocrat Marie St.
Clare, is criminally helpless, and here the New England spinster's "reformatory tour" begins in earnest I Critics of Uncle Tom's Cabin have aligned the novel's depiction of disorderly domesticity with its antislavery appeal. Seen this way, Dinah's drawers are one symptom of slavery's violation of the "systematic order" Catharine Beecher, in her popular Treatise on Domestic Economyjudged essential to the harmonious operation of the home. Slavery's abuse of the family wrecks domesticity's soteriological mission to "renovate degraded man," and to serve as the base of the "glorious temple" of a Christian polity.
Dinah's arrangements threaten to move beyond a symbolics of critique and into the realm of intervention, as Ophelia's discovery of Methodist hymnbook, bloody cloth, and "sundry sweet herbs" in another cupboard, implicitly raises the suspicion of occult practices in the slave's domain I To treat Dinah's kitchen as a symptom risks overlooking another cultural order in the Louisiana interior, represented by what are arguably amulets concealed in Dinah's drawers, and by Dinah's phenomenal success in "ignoring or opposing" unwelcome interference "without any actual or observable contest" I What happens to Dinah in Uncle Tom's Cabin?
The cook is conspicuously absent when "Tom, Adolph, and about half a dozen others of the St. Clare estate" are sold at auction II This essay returns to the scene of Dinah's labors in order to argue that critics of Stowe's sentimental bestseller have too quickly dismissed the fact of its curious success in "ignoring or opposing" business as usual, "without any actual or observable contest. To us, Stowe's is a portrait of an orientalized Dinah, described "seated on the kitchen floor, smoking a short, stumpy pipe, to which she was much addicted, and which she always kindled up, as a sort of censer, whenever she felt the need of inspiration in her arrangements" I But although this description must be read within Stowe's colonizing frame of primitivism and progress, it does not mean that Dinah's gifts should be disregarded.
As John Blassingame points out, witches, sorcerers, and conjurers of African extraction practiced among the slave populations, where they were, according to W. Du Bois, the "chief remaining institution" of "former group life. Such survivals may have left more traces on the aesthetics of sentiment in the United States than we have yet imagined. For example, Mechal Sobel's examination of Black and white values in eighteenth-century Virginia demonstrates that it is a surviving West African perception of death as a homecoming, and heaven as a home, that by the end of the eighteenth century becomes "an American expectation.
Bourgeois sentimentalism empowers such ordinary possessions as old shoes, worn clothing, portraits, and cut hair; but these are objects whose "close contact with the body" also made them "dangerous instruments for conjure. In tracing the idea of the fetish to the cross-cultural spaces of the coast of West Africa during the sixteenth century, anthropologist William Pietz notes that the origin of the word derives from the Latin for "manufacture" and the Portuguese for "witchcraft" or "magical practice.
The Vermont Sinclairs betray, even as they exaggerate, the Northerner's impression of the Southerner's exotic folkways when Ophelia plans her trip to Louisiana. Ophelia's "old gray-headed father" dips into his "Morse's Atlas … and looked out the exact latitude and longitude" of "Orleans," and reads "Flint's Travels in the South and West" in order to prepare his eldest daughter for her adventure.
Ophelia's good mother wonders if "Orleans wasn't an awful wicked place, 'most equal to going to the Sandwich Islands" I One glance at the animated "mystic old aloe," poised "like some hoary old enchanter" on the lawn of her cousin's Moorish mansion, leads Ophelia to judge the admittedly "pretty place" "rather old and heathenish" I But Stowe's suggestion that spirit inhabits all things is not only an exoticized import from the Roman Catholic and African American religions of New Orleans and beyond.
It is by a familiar element of the nineteenth-century domestic ideology whose tenets Stowe's writing reflected and helped to shape.
Emphasizing the formative nature of both the mother and the domestic interior, theologians like Horace Bushnell and domesticians like Catharine Beecher described the "spirit of the house" that passes "by transmission" into the "little plastic nature of the child. Associated with the physical labors of reproduction, sickness and death, a feminized sentimentalism is also linked to the "sivilizing" work of socialization from which men and boys "light out.
To chronicle the reception of the aesthetics of sentiment from the eighteenth century on is to record its rapid transformation from a medium of sympathy to one of vicariousness; from health to morbidity; and from transparency to duplicity.
Thus critic Helen Waite Papashvily calls sentimental fiction "witches' broth," adding that V. Parrington was mistaken to find it weak as "cambric tea. Judgments of the novel's potential to subvert white patriarchal operations—a potential remarked by Papashvily, and celebrated since in Jane Tompkins's account of "sentimental power"—contend with renewed assessments of its conservative and hegemonic character.
Sentimentality in general, and Stowe's text in particular, have been rediscovered as the media of racial misalliance and political containment, and not as the vehicles of a feminist-abolitionist reform.
It must also be reassessed within the context of such historically related and proximate beliefs as those exhibited in the art of conjure. In the following two sections, I examine the depiction of domestic animism first in Uncle Tom's Cabin, and then in Stowe's nonfictional Household Papers and Stories, sketching its connection to contemporary evangelical, ethnographic, evolutionary, and less orthodox accounts of maternal, cultural, and spiritual transmission.
A final section turns to Charlotte Perkins Gilman 's attempted reformation of her great aunt's model domesticity, a remodeling motivated by Gilman's uneasy recognition of the somatic and the necromantic nature of the "spirit of the house. Stowe, "The Cathedral" Mid-century American fiction announces itself as sentimental by displaying what Dolf Sternberger describes as the "precious mementos" that play "such a crucial part not only in novels, but also in daily circumstances of the period.
Staging Little Eva's death, Stowe makes Eva's "doling out of mementos to the spectators the substance of the scene. Bird's late son Henry, Stowe is said to have drawn on her personal collection of preserved infant garments once belonging to her dead baby Charley I But although the collection performs the conservative work of consolation, it can also serve more subversive ends.
As Gillian Brown points out, Henry's garments help Eliza's small son Harry in his escape; 22 this links the cherished baby clothes to Dinah's potent objects, and white objects of recollection to Black vehicles of freedom. Clare has always appreciated the volatile power of Dinah's things, and when he cautions Ophelia that prying into the details of slavery is like looking "too close into the details of Dinah's kitchen" II 8he suggests that the devil is in the details of each.
The devil, as his cousin Ophelia points out, inhabits the slave economy. But other spirits are apparently conjured not only when Dinah needs culinary inspiration, but also when she plots to counter Miss Ophelia's domestic advice as wordlessly she has circumvented the interference of the St.
Whether Ophelia mistakes them for the jumble of the shiftlessor St. Clare shuns them as dangerous to viewDinah's fetishes help to shape the cousins' shared impression of the African's orientalized nature. Stowe reinforces this apprehension of African difference when, with what Hortense Spillers calls a "fatal binarity," Stowe constructs in The Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin a key to the African's psychology.
This is so much the case that precious memento, sacred relic, and African fetish may be indistinguishable, as in the example of Little Eva's lock of hair, given to Uncle Tom on her deathbed to be worn close to his heart. Simon Legree, who eventually recognizes in this token the memento sent him by his own Christian mother, also understands it to be the protective mojo or gris gris of African custom, the "devilish" "witch thing" Sambo now folds into a paper and which threatens to work a fix on Legree.
Keeps 'em from feeling when they's flogged. While the reader might have anticipated some occult action on the "superstitious" Simon Legree's gothic plantation, Stowe demonstrates that even in the most orderly of domestic environments—the still Quaker settlement—things are not what they seem.
While there is "certainly nothing very startling about such everyday animism" as that exhibited in Quaker Rachel Halliday's "creechy-crawchy" "persuasive old chair" IIthe chair's very appeal to familiar associations deflects the fact of the Quakers' historical persecution as witches.
Or the fact that a rocker's rocking, like a Quaker's "quaking," might denote possession. If the slave catcher boasts that after three weeks among the Quakers he has not been converted, he cannot deny that he has been cured of a bad heart: A regenerated man, Loker "arose from his bed" to develop his talents "more happily" "trapping bears, wolves, and other inhabitants of the forest" II What determines his metamorphosis seems neither to be prayer nor instruction, but a more insidious maternal force: The Quakers "do fix up a sick fellow first rate," Tom must confess.
Make jist the tallest kind o' broth and knickknacks" II The notion of a maternal influence simultaneously homely and arcane, far from being unorthodox, constituted one of the strongest messages of antebellum domestic ideology. This idea assumed a special force in redressing the Calvinist's circumscription of human agency, and in countering the Protestant suspicion of image, art, and sacred maternity, associated with Catholic idolatry.
While it is by now a familiar argument that in the nineteenth century a vigorous masculine Calvinism informing elite New England culture succumbed to an enfeebling feminization, in fact it was in Calvinism that liberal Protestants like Stowe discerned the effects of a "slow poison, producing life-thoughts of morbid action.
Infant nurture and child training were superintended by middle-class women in the context of what historians describe as the ideologies of the "moral mother" or "qualitative motherhood. And here Catharine Beecher's account of maternal power resembles that of her sister Harriet, whose mild Quakers rehabilitate Tom Loker body and soul, or that of the Beechers' influential contemporary, the minister Horace Bushnell.
However, once his cousin Ophelia begins living with them, she takes on the mother figure role. Clare does not fulfill that role in the slightest. Clare to call her out from time to time, which in turn leads to a discussion of his views. Readers are privy to a long conversation concerning slavery between the two of them when they find that the slave woman Prue had been whipped to death.
From this passage readers immediately understand that St. Clare will go down the path of Mr. While Ophelia does pose as a mother figure who possesses influence, it is St. Clare to desire a change. Readers do not know much about St.
Clare, as he plays the piano, speaks of her singing: Between the efforts of little Eva and the memory of his mother, St. Clare becomes truly convinced, or influenced rather, to use his power to do something he sees as right: After reconnecting to his mother through the song, St.
He now, at this point before his death, believes the idea that an individual can make a difference, just as Stowe was attempting to get her readers to believe, and, just as importantly, he now believes this because of the influence of his mother. Readers can know that it was indeed St. He tells Tom and Ophelia: His last word is even of her: In a way, Stowe does fulfill St. Clare in George Shelby. There are many similar characteristics between St. George Shelby is the only powerful man in the novel who sees the evils of slavery and is able to act against it.
Dorothy Brown says that: Readers know that before he was unexpectedly killed, St. Clare had resolved to free all his slaves: However, even though St.
Clare is unable to fulfill his resolve, George Shelby is. Of course, it is important to note that George Shelby was likely influenced to do so by his mother. As a child readers see that George has sympathy, as his mother does, for the slaves: While readers are never explicitly told or shown Mrs.