Uncle Tom's Cabin

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade April 2001

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Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, begins her tale on the Shelby farm. Mr. and Mrs. Shelby were kind Christian folks who were known for treating their slaves well. Unfortunately, Mr. Shelby was indebted to Haley, a slave-trader. To settle the debt, Shelby reluctantly agrees to sell Tom, his old faithful slave and Harry, the cute little son of Eliza, Mrs. Shelby's servant. Eliza overhears the sale take place and in the middle of the night, she runs off in pursuit of Canada to save her son. Haley follows but can't catch her so he sends slave-catchers after her. Haley then takes Tom on a steamboat to the South, a place where slaves are known to die. Luckily, Tom meets a little girl named Eva and saves her life. She persuades her father, Augustine St. Clare to purchase Tom.

Meanwhile, Eliza is taken to a Quaker settlement on the border of the slave states where she is reunited with George, her husband.

He escaped to the Quaker settlement by dressing as a white man. They are soon told that men are after them, so they flee. Then, dressing as two men and their daughter, ride a ferry to Canada. While Tom is enjoying an easy life at St. Clare's, little Eva becomes sick and dies. Augustine is deeply affected by her death and after questioning his life he decides to free Tom. Yet there is another twist in the story when Augustine dies before Tom is set free and falls into the hands of selfish Marie. Marie sells the slaves at an auction. Tom is sold to Legree, the proverbial slave owner. Tom is beaten to death before George Shelby could come and buy him back.

The story takes place about 10 years before the Civil...