What was the effect that the Christian religion had on Eliza?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the most profound effect that Christianity had on Eliza was to help to develop her sense of self- sacrifice.  Eliza sacrifices everything in order to save her family.  This is reminiscent of the Christian ideal of sacrifice in which individuals struggle in the name of a higher good and higher force.  For Eliza, this is family. Her flight across the Ohio River in the cold embodies this.  Eliza suffers greatly, but does not lose her overall faith and commitment in the sacrifices she needs to make for her family.  In saving Harry, Eliza assumes a Christian notion of sacrifice.  While her reaction is instinctual as a mother for a child, one sees the Christian notion of sacrifice of oneself for something higher in such an action.  Eliza does not succumb to the fear and anger that the condition of slavery would understandably arouse in a slave.  It is through her own Christian conception as part of her own consciousness where she is able to transcend the wrongs done to her and act in accordance to a good for someone else and something else larger than herself.  In this, one can see the effect that the Christian religion had on Eliza.


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