Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Uncle Tom's Cabin

I hear references to Uncle Tom's Cabin all the time but had never read it before now. I'm in this group on LibraryThing that read books about slavery in April, so my choice was this classic which is partially based on true stories. It took me over a month to read but it was worth it.

The story follows Tom, a slave in Kentucky who is sold after his kind masters hit some hard times and have to settle a debt. I think this is where the phrase, "sold up the river," comes from because he is sold and moves up the river. I hate giving anything away so I will just say that Harriet Beecher Stowe explores every persons' aspect of slavery through her tale.

It made me cry and consider what it was truly like to live in the south in the 1850s, when her story was written. In fact, the funnest part of reading it for me (if reading about slavery can be considered fun) was knowing that it was written before the Civil War. I learned that some say this book, which was actually not a book but a serial installment released in a magazine of the time, was like a rattling saber, "starting" the Civil War! Abraham Lincoln met her and said, "So this is the little lady who made this big war"!!! Can you imagine?!

The end of the book gets a little too religious for my taste, but I am able to forgive it considering the time period it was written in.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:
* "Your heart is better than your head, in this case, John," said the wife, laying her little white hand on his. "Could I ever have loved you, had I not known you better than you know yourself?"

* Of course, in a novel, people's hearts break, and they die, and that is the end of it; and in a story this is very convenient. But in real life we do not die when all that makes life bright to us dies to us. There is a most busy and important round of eating, drinking, dressing, walking, visiting, buying, selling, talking, reading, and all that makes up what is commonly called living, yet to be gone through; and this yet remained to Augustine.

* "Well," said St. Clare, "suppose that something should bring down the price of cotton once and forever, and make the whole slave property a drug in the market, don't you think we should soon have another version of the Scripture doctrine? What a flood of light would pour into the church, all at once, and how immediately it would be discovered that everything in the Bible and reason went the other way!"

This is also my "book with a building in its title" for the What's In a Name Challenge.

P.S. The above photo is not really Uncle Tom's Cabin. I couldn't find a picture that matches the cover of my book, so I chose this cool picture of my dream cabin by Alastair Magnaldo. Although I'd turn the street lamp off.

1 comment:

stephanie said...

My dad's name is Tom.

Also, I have used the expression "sold me up the river" a million times.