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I am trying to understand chapter 37 in Uncle Tom's Cabin, "Liberty", better. Can...

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ltm08232 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 17, 2010 at 4:27 AM via web

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I am trying to understand chapter 37 in Uncle Tom's Cabin, "Liberty", better. Can anyone explain that chapter for me in a short summary?

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litelle209 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted October 22, 2010 at 12:06 PM (Answer #1)

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There is a geographical shift that takes place in chapter 37 and the setting is now the Midwest. The reader has followed the fugitive slave hunter Tom Loker as he has been trying to apprehend Eliza and her family. Since Tom is injured in the previous chapter, he finds himself being taken care of by a Quaker woman, Dorcas, in the midwest. He realizes that the fugitives could have left him injured, but instead chose to help. This fact seems to spark a sort of conversion in Loker, who is generally an unlikable character. He becomes introspective and advises the Harris family how to evade the captors. Toward the end, the reader follows Eliza, her husband and child as they flee toward Canada while Eliza is disguised as a man and little Harry as a girl. Here Liberty functions in terms of freedom. The text deliberates on the new found freedom of Eliza, George, and Harry:

Who can speak the blessedness of that first day of freedom? Is it not the sense of liberty a higher and a finer one than any of the five? To move, speak, and breathe,-go out and come in unwatched, and free from danger!

Lastly, though, the theme of liberty emerges throughout the book and Stowe, the abolitionist, argues that a country is not truly free until all of its citizens are free.

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