Thursday, January 27, 2011

Uncle Tom's Cabin - A Book Report

By; Harriet Beecher Stowe

In a way I feel foolish attempting to review a book as old as this one. I have known about it most of my life but until now had never read it. It was published in 1851. It began as a serial in a monthly publication but later in book form. It was startling in its effect on the citizens of America as well as Europe. Abraham Lincoln has been quoted upon meeting Mrs. Stowe, “So this is the little lady who made this big war”. It must be remembered that Europe had ended slavery many years before. Even in America the importation of slaves had been made illegal. Due to the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act, the North as well as the South was reminded that they were both responsible for the continuation of this most vile practice. She leaves no doubt on this subject as she skillfully weaves the lives of the characters into the story.
Much of what she wrote was reports of actual happenings. The net effect is in understanding the plight of the Negroes who had no recourse to their fate. We see the devastating effect of families pulled apart as they are sold to the highest bidder without thought to separating family members. We can understand that the owners were also under stress. There were compassionate owners as well as the brutal ones. The copy I just read was reprinted in 1981. It still included the ugly word “nigger”. I have read recently of school boards rewriting Tom Sawyer, I can only assume they have rewritten this book as well. In my opinion that is completely wrong. That word belongs in those books. That is how it was, to pretend otherwise is stupid in my opinion and shows a lack of credibility to suggest words such as this weren’t commonly used during those perilous times.
She skillfully weaved a tale using believable characters and in so doing made their plight understandable to the reader as to the depth of the suffering and pain. After years of slavery many were of mixed race but whether their skin was white or not they were still considered colored and kept in bondage. With few exceptions education was denied them. Many did become Christian. The hope of a better life in the next world was for many the only thought that was able to sustain them. Uncle Tom was completely committed to Jesus Christ and died in peace with his full acceptance of resurrection.
If you are like me and have not read this book I urge you to consider. Mine is available. I am sure it is in the Public Library as well.

Jack B. Walters
January 27, 2011

No comments: