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Harriet Beecher Stowe 1811-1896 : Lecture Notes on Uncle Tom's Cabin

I. Biography

Stowe wrote for magazines; she created Yankee character "Uncle Lot" and wrote Sam Lawson's Fireside Stories in 1872. Her The Pearl of Orr's Island (1862) was a huge influence on Sarah Orne Jewett. II. Uncle Tom's Cabin "When the novel was put on stage, a hush fell on the audience at the National Theatre in New York as Eliza escaped from her pursuers and reached the northern side of the river. An observer who turned to look was astonished to see that the entire audience, from the gentlemen and ladies in the balconies to the rough-shirted men in the galleries, was in tears." Brief Summary: Innovation and Tradition in Uncle Tom's Cabin

1. The freedom narrative is primarily a male story. The bondage narrative was preeminently a female plot. Stowe reversed these, leaving UT as the (female) slave to die in bondage; to do this she departed from her literary models.

2. The novel blends realism, high purpose, mythic power.

3. Eric Sundquist argues that uniting the secular and religious realms is what made Stowe's novel so radical.

4. Stowe offers the Protestant equivalent of Roman Catholic mass, with Uncle Tom as the Christ figure offering himself up for sacrifice.

5. Jane Tompkins comments that UTC offers a classic example of the jeremiad in George's later speech.

Comments to D. Campbell.