May 17, 2010

The Symbolism of Uncle Tom's Cabin

I have found it fascinating that so many people are upset and very critical about Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe.  When this was written, this work infuriated the South because it demonized the practice of slavery.  The book quickly became a best seller and helped catalyzed the emotions that erupted into the Civil war.  When President Lincoln finally met the author, he stated, "So this is the little lady who started this big war." 

So many people attacked the author, claiming that it was not authentic and that she had fabricated the issues of slavery, that Stowe wrote another book called The Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin two years latter.  In this work she defends each main character and their views with actually letters and documents of the time.  I found reading these explanations to be quite fascinating and recommend any one who questions the author's authenticity, to do so.

I believe that although the author may not have been completely striped of all her own prejudices herself, in this great work she was attempting to humanize the blacks who were treated like animals or property.  She attempts to have you feel their incredible grief and sorrow.  Stowe does a wonderful job exploring all the types and forms of slavery that may have existed.

I applaud Stowe's solution that she suggests through the character George Shelby.  He created not only papers that made all of his slaves legally freeman, but also he gave them the opportunity to become educated and earn an honest living on his farm.  Although this did not bring instant equality and stop prejudices, it's a start.  All men need a chance to better themselves through education and just compensation for their hard work.

I hope that any one who reads this book will follow George Shelby's admonition.  That we should, "Think of freedom, every time you see UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; and let it be a memorial to put you in mind to follow in his (Tom's) steps, and be as honest and faithful and Christian as he was."

May 14, 2010

May's Title Swap

The Giver by Lois Lowry
Take the Risk by Ben Carson
Gifted Hands, the Ben Carson Story DVD
The Constitution by Sam Fink
The Declaration of Idependence by Sam Fink
Teach Your Children Well by Chrine Allison
Change Your Questions, Change Your Life by Wendy Watson Nelson
3 Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
Abraham Lincoln by Jim Weiss CD
Absent in the Spring by Agatha Christe
Roughin it Easy by Dian Thomas
Boys Should be Boys by Meg Meeker