Stowe’s Christian Stand in Uncle Tom’s Cabin The nineteenth century proved to be a period of turmoil for women and the role they would play in an ever-changing America. Women contended with not only hard living in the domestic sphere, but were impacted by the undercurrent of slavery issues. The Anti-slavery movement and Women’s rights movement were bringing forth a new dimension of writers taking hard positions on these issues. Harriet Beecher Stowe became one of the country’s most well known writers who bridged these factions together with her famous book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Her position was not from the perspective of women’s rights as much as the rights and freedom of slaves. Stowe appealed to the basis of Christian beliefs and maternal instincts more than that of the assertive and vocal Women’s movement. She deftly steps aside from the more liberal feministic ideas, instead focusing on more traditional aspects of the role of women, particularly mothers. It is through this mode that she cries out against the insidiousness of slavery. The role of mother represents not just a domestic maternal figure confined to family, but also a universal figure who is led by Christian beliefs with compassion and empathy towards all who are suffering.
The origins of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s beliefs began as a child. Although her mother died when Harriet was five, her mother left an undeniable impact on her children (Adams 20). The image of Roxena Beecher, Harriet’s mother was of a saintly woman who embodied all aspects of a virtuous loving mother. Roxena Beecher had many children and lived in struggling, difficult conditions, much the way Harriet did when she became a mother. According to one biographer, when Roxena died, “she be…
…ns, and not one legal right to protect, guide, or educate, the child of her bosom!”(Hedrick401). The weapon of motherhood is Harriet Beecher Stowe’s strongest ally and her most devout companion.
Adams, John R. Harriet Beecher Stowe. New York: Twayne Publishers, Inc. 1963.
Hedrick, Joan D. Harriet Beecher Stowe A Life .New York: Oxford UP, 1994.
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Roberson, Susan. The Stowe Debate Rhetorical Strategies in Uncle Tom’s Cabin . Ed. Mason I. Lowance, Ellen E. Westbrook, and R.C De Prospo. Amherst: University of Massachuetts, 1994.
Stowe, Harriet Beecher. ” The Minister’s Wooing.”” Life and Letters of Harriet
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Paul Lauter. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Co, 1998.