This was one of the books that I told myself that I was going to have read in my lifetime. I grew up infatuated with anything having to do with the Civil War and the time period in general. When I read somewhere that when Stowe was invited to meet President Lincoln, he greeted her with “Here’s the little lady who started the war,” I knew that I had to read this book.
I’m so glad that I finally picked it up! This book is not only a wonderful story, but a remarkable representation of anti-slavery feelings in the 1850s. Stowe does not hold back. She lashes into everyone, South and North alike for being responsible for slavery. She takes down the slave owners in the same breath that she criticizes the do-gooder abolitionists of the North, who would send all African Americans back to Africa rather than try to integrate them into the American society. Stowe gave slaves a voice that very few were able or willing to do at the time.
Stowe does bring a lot of religion into the story, as well as the perceived notion of the gentleness and moral superiority of women, so I could see how some people might be turned off by the book, but if you think about it as a piece of work that allowed one repressed member of society (a woman) to give power and voice to other repressed members of society (African Americans) you can see that it really is a powerful work of literature! I can’t believe that throughout all my schooling to become an English teacher, Uncle Tom’s Cabin was never even discussed in any of my classes. God knows I read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for about three different classes-don’t get me wrong, I love that book- but I’m sure one of them could have found room for Uncle Tom’s Cabin on the syllabus.