Uncle Tom’s Cabin

“S’pose not; you Kentucky folks spile your niggers. You mean well by ’em, but ‘tan’t no real kindness, arter all. Now, a nigger, you see, what’s got to be hacked and tumbled round the world, and sold to Tom, and Dick, and the Lord knows who, ‘tan’t no kindness to be givin’ on him notions and expectations, and bringin’ on him up too well, for the rough and tumble comes all the harder on him arter. Now, I venture to say, your niggers would be quite chop-fallen in a place where some of your plantation niggers would be singing and whooping like all possessed. Every man, you know, Mr. Shelby, naturally thinks well of his own ways; and I think I treat niggers just about as well as it’s ever worth while to treat ’em.”

I choose to use this quotation above in my week 2 blog for a couple different reasons. This quote found in chapter 1 describes a conversation held between Mr. Haley and Mr. Shelby. Throughout the quote Mr. Haley goes into great detail about how his personal beliefs towards Slave trading and slaves in general. In this quote Mr. Harley lets Mr. Shelby know he thinks it is like to be a slave in this world, and how he thinks compared to everyone else they treat their slaves well.  This quote is perfect in describing his overall character from both an objective standpoint and from his own personal view. I believe the words she uses in this quote are good in showing exactly how life was like during this time. One example is when Mr. Haley Believes that he is righteous in the sense that he treats every slave owns with respect.  When the reality of the situation is he still deals in humans lives which is never justified, but since Mr. Haley shows them more “respect” compared to his peers he believes it justifies his actions. This is a perfect insight into how people involved in slave trading were easily able to believe they were humane to slaves until they could be used for their own gain. Mr. Haley is not the only one at fault when it comes to his skewed view of slavery. Many more characters such as Mr. Shelby are at fault but Mr. Haley is a blatant example of people using anyone and everything to get what they want.

 

“In order to appreciate the sufferings of the negroes sold south, it must be remembered that all the instinctive affections of that race are peculiarly strong. Their local attachments are very abiding. They are not naturally daring and enterprising, but home-loving and affectionate. Add to this all the terrors with which ignorance invests the unknown, and add to this, again, that selling to the south is set before the negro from childhood as the last severity of punishment. The threat that terrifies more than whipping or torture of any kind is the threat of being sent down river. We have ourselves heard this feeling expressed by them, and seen the unaffected horror with which they will sit in their gossipping hours, and tell frightful stories of that “down river,” which to them is”

     “That undiscovered country, from whose bourn

     No traveller returns.”*

 

For my second quote, I choose a passage that starts on the beginning paragraphs from Chapter 10. My reasoning for picking this passage deals with real problem faced by many slaves of this time. After glancing upon it the reader can get a better grasp of the hell inflicted upon these people, reminding them it can always get worse. One would expect if they were a slave that it could not possible get any more horrible than is. These people would be dead wrong because apart from just being beat or tortured for disobedience there was another deterrent used by slave owners. This last form of punishment inflicted upon slave in the north was the threat of being sold to a plantation owner in the south. In the eyes of a slave this was seen as the cruelest punishment because of all the stigma surrounding the south and how horribly they treat their slaves. Stowe is genius in using this in her book due to the impact it can have on the reader. The quote above reinforces the harsh reality endured by slaves in America and tugs on the reader heartstrings through showing them that slaves can never catch a break in this world.

One thought on “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”

  1. Keep in mind that this second quote is based on a racist idea: that people of African descent are fundamentally different than people of other descents. She is arguing that the threat of being sold down river is scarier to them because they aren’t very adventuresome or daring. That’s a problematic way to get sympathy from readers!

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