Harriet Beecher Stowe
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Uncle Tom’s cabin was published in 1852. Nine years later the American Civil War broke out. At the time of publication the contrasting attitudes as to keeping slaves in the Northern and Southern States of the USA are already clearly visible.
Although not much in particular seems to happen on the first pages of the first chapter, gradually an ominous feeling takes hold of the reader. This feeling will not leave in spite of idyllic or funny scenes that are contained in the book.
Uncle Tom and his wife Aunt Chloe have a good master and a good mistress. But the couple gets financial problems which force them to sell Uncle Tom and little Harry, who is the son of Eliza and George. The latter is property of a slave owner who treats him badly.
This introduction already brings to light what slaves constantly worry about. Those who have a good master always live in fear of being sold to a bad one. This may mean that you are seperated from your husband or wife, or, for children, that they are snatched away from their parents. Slaves who are owned by a bad master try to find a way to escape, but then they have to fear the dangers of being chased by slave hunters.
Before I had read this book, I simply used to think: keeping slaves is bad, but I did not have any idea of the far-reaching consequences for the lifes of the slaves.
The narrative not only originates from the fantasy of the author. It relies on events that really took place.
Among the many publications of this book, some are less suitable, as they are retold versions.
Uncle Tom is a slave with great trust in God, who overcomes the most difficult circumstances and also consoles and provides support to others. I often cried while reading this book. Upon finishing the book, the reader has one wish: that the slave trade (which still exists today) be abolished immediately and forever.
Very good characters are portrayed alongside the bad ones.