Uncle Tom’s Cabin is an anti slavery novel partly inspired by the true story of Josiah Henson. I thought the book immensely absorbing and couldn’t tear away until I completed it. Right now I’m at something of a loss to describe it in a manner that does it justice.
The story opens with Mr. Shelby, a slave owner, and Mr. Haley, a slave trader, doing business. Though Mr. Shelby is a good and kind man he has managed to accumulate a debt so high that he might have to sell his farm. The only way he can repay it is by selling one of his slaves. Uncle Tom is that slave.
Uncle Tom is a devout Christian. He is hardworking, trustworthy and faithful to his master. In fact, he is held in such high regard that he is made manager of his master’s entire estate. Even though the title of the book is Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the story told is not just of Uncle Tom but also of co-workers and owners who are all somehow connected to Uncle Tom.
The stories are both heart wrenching and heart warming. Each of the stories have been described so vividly that in my reading of it I helplessly went beyond being a mere observer to being drawn into the stories itself as an active participant in them. Uncle Tom’s Cabin is one of those books that lingers on in your mind days after you’ve read it. Mere memories of its story rouse strong emotions.
Having read the book I wasn’t surprised to know that this novel sparked the beginnings of the Civil War. It is said that when Abraham Lincoln first met Stowe he remarked, “So this is the little lady who started this great war.”
The main theme of this book is to showcase the evil and ruthlessness of slavery. But there are a few sub themes as well from which lessons can be learnt. One of the sub themes focused on the redeeming qualities of Christianity. It was impressive to read of Uncle Tom’s unwavering faith in God. To help pay his master’s debts he was seperated from his family forever and the one thing that helped him endure it all was his faith in God. I read this book with a box of tissues.
I can understand if a person wouldn’t want to read this book. I usually keep away from depressing books myself. Yet, even though the book disturbed me considerably, I am glad that I read it. It isn’t a classic for nothing. It stays in your heart for days until it becomes a part of you. Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a must read. It’s painful but it’s as inspiring.
P.S. Click here if you haven’t read the book yet.