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Courageous and Cowardly Characters in Uncle Tom’s Cabin

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Courageous and Cowardly Characters in Uncle Tom’s Cabin

The novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin is an all-around masterpiece; kudos to the talented Harriet Beecher Stowe. The book is very well written, based mostly on historical fact, and depicts life through a slave’s eyes. The characters in Uncle Tom’s Cabin may well be the jewels of the book, because of their diversity, and that many readers can personally relate to a character. Many of the characters had much courage in their hearts, while others were cowardly.

Some of the most courageous characters were slaves. George and Eliza Harris showed much bravery as the story unfolded. George fought hard for his freedom. He ran away with his family, risked his life, as well as his family’s life. He even faced the evil slave trader Tom Loker and threatened to shoot him, so his family could be free. “You can come up, if you like; but the first one of you that comes within range of our bullets is a dead man.” (Stowe, 167) Eliza also showed her courageous side. A brave mother she was, when she ran away with her infant son from a master. She ran for tens of miles until she reached safety. This showed her character; the consequence for run-away slaves was usually whipping. Eventually reunited, Eliza and her husband George were both daring characters in Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

The Quakers in Stowe’s novel were also brave for giving the run-away slaves hospitality. If caught, the Quakers could have been in some hot water, but they felt that helping the slaves was a risk worth taking. “Thee knows thee can stay here, as long as thee pleases,” (Stowe, 114) says one of the Quakers to Eliza, offering to let her stay at the Quaker Settlement. On the other side of the country, Uncle Tom was a fearless, sometimes even a heroic slave. His deep religious spirit helped him get through hard times in his slavehood. During these hardships, Tom’s love and worship for God never wavered. Even as the brutal slave owner Legree beat Tom to his death, Tom stayed true to God and wished only that the people around him would listen to the word of God. On his deathbed, Tom stood his character and told Legree, that he would “give ye my hearts blood, […] to save your precious soul” (Stowe, 349). Tom had not just a brave soul, but a big, forgiving heart.

Conversely, Uncle Tom’s last owner was a coward. Legree was a coward, especially when Cassy convinced

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