Morality in Uncle Tom’s Cabin
One Work Cited Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin in order to help bring the plight of southern slave workers into the spotlight in the north, aiding in its abolitionist movement.
Harriet Beecher Stowe, in her work Uncle Tom’s Cabin, portrayed slaves as being the most morally correct beings, often times un-humanistically so, while also portraying many whites and slave-owners to be morally wrong in most situations. Stowe created a definite distinction between the morality of slaves and their sympathizers, and those opposed to the abolitionist movement.
The foremost example of the contrast between the slaves and those portrayed as being evil rested in the character of Uncle Tom. A devout Christian, Tom never lost sight of his convictions, staying true to his Christian beliefs until his death. Even when under the harshest conditions, Tom never lost faith, while praying to God and finding ways to keep his faith. After succumbing to the wrath of Simon Legree, Tom was viewed as a martyr by withstanding his doubts and staying firm in his beliefs, ending his own life, while saving those of two others.
The prime example of the group opposed to the idea of abolition was Simon Legree, a Louisiana cotton-plantation owner that brutally beat his slaves, who in nearly all situations, did not deserve the beatings issued. Legree believed in working his slaves until death, and then replacing them, in order to maximize his profit output, his primary goal.
Shelby’s decision to sell Tom and Eliza’…
…was brutally whipped by Legree and his overseers for days and was left for dead. On his deathbed, George Shelby, son of Mr. Shelby, came to attempt to buy Tom’s freedom. While dying, Tom retained no ill wishes for anyone: not even Legree, hoping that he would find God, and looking forward to the eternal kingdom that awaited him.
Throughout Tom’s journey from the Shelby farm to his death on Legree’s farm, many of the slaves and sympathizers held incredibly high morality levels, while many of their non-supporters displayed acts of cruelty and hatred. There was often a deep contrast between these two classes, with both containing prime examples of what is morally wrong and right.
Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom’s Cabin. New York: Penguin Books, 1981.