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Book Review on Uncle Tom's Cabin

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Book Review on Uncle Tom's Cabin

While Harriet Beecher Stowe's, Uncle Tom's Cabin, deals with the wrongs of slavery from a Christian standpoint, there is a strong emphasis on the moral strength of women. Eliza, Eva, Mrs. Bird, Miss Ophelia, Aunt Chloe and Mrs. Shelby all exhibit power and understanding of good over evil in ways that most of the male characters in Stowe's novel do not. This emotional strength, when compared with the strength of the male characters, shows the belief of women as equals to men.

While the book emphasizes the evils of slavery, its main theme discusses the issues of feminism and religion. The novel's women are presented as more moral than its men. Mrs. Shelby provides the voice of morality for Mr. Shelby and she continues to play this role throughout the novel. Stowe knew her society did not see women as equals to men. Therefore, although she uses female characters to guide the male characters, she never allows them to gain full authority in any situation and this imitates her society. Stowe shows the power of a woman's influence over a man. In many ways, the novel is an appeal to female readers. For instance, Stowe focuses on the relationship between women such as Eliza who is a runaway slave, and their families, demonstrating how slavery breaks these bonds. Stowe tries to get the women in the novel to come to believe in the evil of slavery, and then convert the male figures in their lives.

Mrs. Shelby and Mrs. Bird state their beliefs over and against their husbands' viewpoints. Since they lack the power that men have, they can only influence within the family. As Stowe intends for many of her female figures, such as Mrs. Shelby and Mrs. Bird, to serve a political purpose, these women act as models of morality, advocating abolition and trying to help the slaves as much as possible.

Throughout the novel, the value of Christian religious doctrine emerges as a central theme. This serves as the standard of virtue by which slavery must be considered wrong. Therefore Mrs. Bird cites the Bible when declaring the injustice of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. The Fugitive Slave Law barred Northerners from assisting runaway slaves and allowed escaped slaves caught in the North to be returned to their masters in the South. Despite Stowe's use of her female characters to highlight Christian morality, many readers consider Stowe's women to be feminist figures. The women are considered feminist figures because they insist upon the significance and value of their own opinions and defy the male characters in doing so.

A little girl named Eva furthers the novel's religious message. While Eva's character is highly idealized, Miss Ophelia, her cousin, receives the most realistic treatment of any female in the book. Unlike Mrs. Shelby and Mrs. Bird who are considered



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