Study Guide

Uncle Tom's Cabin

by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Uncle Tom's Cabin Analysis

Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Critical Guide to Censorship and Literature)

The Work

In 1851 Harriet Beecher Stowe began composing an antislavery novel that was serialized in the National Era, an antislavery journal. In 1852 the novel, which chronicles the fortunes of a kindly slave called Uncle Tom, was published in book form as Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Appearing at a time when the abolitionist movement was gaining momentum, Stowe’s novel broke the sales records of all earlier American best sellers. However, Uncle Tom’s Cabin was not widely distributed in the South and was condemned as untruthful by Southern politicians, critics, and clergymen.

In 1853 Stowe’s novel was banned in the papal states by Catholic officials in Rome, perhaps because one character in the book predicts a worldwide revolution of slaves and exploited workers. This ban led to censorship of the novel in several European countries.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin has remained a victim of censorship during the twentieth century. A 1906 Kentucky law aimed at stage versions of Stowe’s novel made it illegal to produce any play depicting antagonism between slaves and masters. Since 1950 the novel’s sharpest critics have been African Americans, who have objected to Stowe’s meek and passive protagonist. The term “Uncle Tom” has come to mean a black man who shamelessly curries favor with whites, or who sells out the interests of his own people; it is extremely pejorative. In 1954, for example, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People attempted to block a stage production of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in New Haven, Connecticut. During the 1970’s, 1980’s, and 1990’s, school boards in many cities with large African American populations opposed the novel’s appearance on high school reading lists.

Bibliography:

Adams, John R. Harriet Beecher Stowe. Rev. ed. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1989. This work expands Adam’s earlier study, the first and only comprehensive analysis of the life and works of Stowe. Adams discusses recently disclosed biographical information about the Beecher family and numerous critical examinations of Stowe written in the twenty-five years since the early study was published. The author connects Uncle Tom’s Cabin to the religious ideas and personal experiences of Stowe. The volume includes an up-to-date bibliography and chronology.

Beach, Seth Curtis. Daughters of the Puritans: A Group of Brief Biographies. 1905. Reprint. Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries Press, 1967. This book contains a forty-page introductory biography of Harriet Beecher Stowe, a background against which to study Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The object of the study is to show the influences that molded Stowe, to present the salient features of her career and her characteristic qualities. The selection is interesting and informative and provides background material for all readers. It can be read by high school students as well as college undergraduates.

Crozier, Alice C. The Novels of Harriet Beecher Stowe. New York: Oxford University Press, 1969. Notes that Stowe was less interested in the novel as art than in the novel as history. Traces the influence of the British writers Sir Walter Scott and George Gordon, Lord Byron. Comments on the cultural context in which the novels were written, which accounts not only for the Victorian sentimentality of Uncle Tom’s Cabin but also for a distinctively American realism that anticipates Mark Twain.

Fields, Annie. Life and Letters of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1898. The second definitive biography of Harriet Beecher Stowe after the book by her son Charles, this sympathetic portrait was written by her personal friend and professional associate who was also a celebrity in her own right. This readable biography contains many now-famous anecdotes about Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Foster, Charles H. The Rungless Ladder: Harriet Beecher Stowe and New England Puritanism. New York: Cooper Square, 1970. This study of Stowe’s inner struggle with New England Puritanism identifies what she read and how that affected her life and writings. It shows that Uncle Tom’s Cabin was a product of her religious thinking and personal anguish. Stowe projects herself and her own struggles, particularly her attempt to reconcile herself with the death of one of her children, onto the novel’s characters.

Gossett, Thomas F. Uncle Tom’s Cabin and American Culture. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1985. This excellent, detailed book shows why Uncle Tom’s Cabin was the most widely read American novel of its time. The first section, about eighty pages long, describes the conditions that led to the creation of the book. The second section, another eighty pages, is an analysis of the book as fiction and social criticism. The remaining two hundred and fifty pages recount the reception of the book in the North, the South, and Europe; the replies; the dramatic versions; and adverse criticism. Contains extensive notes and a comprehensive bibliography.

Hedrick, Joan D. Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Life. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. A good source of information about Stowe’s career as a writer. Traces her writing of Uncle Tom’s Cabin from her initial resolve, through her decision to address the sexual exploitation of female slaves, to her effort to substantiate the novel with facts collected in A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Also mentions her work on behalf of emancipation of slaves in both America and England after publication of the novel.

Stowe, Charles Edward. The Life of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1889. This excellent biography of Harriet Beecher Stowe was compiled by her son, the Reverend Charles Edward Stowe, from her letters and journals. The authorized family biography, it contains the first printing of indispensable letters and other documents and is the foundation of all later biographies. It tells the story of the life of Harriet Beecher Stowe as she had wished and had hoped to tell it herself in her autobiography. Two later books by members of the Stowe family add additional material: Charles Edward Stowe and Lyman Beecher Stowe’s Harriet Beecher Stowe: The Story of Her Life (1941) and Lyman Beecher Stowe’s Saints, Sinners, and Beechers (1934).

Wangenknecht, Edward. Harriet Beecher Stowe: The Known and the Unknown. New York: Oxford University Press, 1965. A combination of biography and literary criticism, this book contains an accurate description of the literary and personal character of Harriet Beecher Stowe. The details are arranged topically, with chapters on Stowe as writer, reader, and reformer as well as daughter, wife, and mother.

Uncle Tom's Cabin Places Discussed (Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

*Kentucky

*Kentucky. South-central U.S. state that provides the setting for the first third of the novel. Kentucky is an appropriate location for slaves hoping to escape because it is separated from free territory only by the Ohio River. Harriet Beecher Stowe also felt comfortable describing this area since she spent a number of years living in nearby Cincinnati, Ohio.

Shelby farm

Shelby farm. Kentucky farm on which two slaves, Uncle Tom and Eliza Harris, reside. Eliza’s husband, George Harris, also a slave, lives nearby. As the narrative makes clear, Eliza and Tom both enjoy relatively pleasant lives on the Shelby farm; however, when financial problems threaten Mr. Shelby, he makes the decision to sell two of his slaves, Tom and Eliza’s young son, Harry. Mrs. Shelby is the first of many principled women who speak out against the moral evil of slavery in the way that it breaks families apart. Stowe illustrates the perils facing slave families as Eliza decides to run away to protect her child, and Tom opts to stay and be sold, sacrificing himself to protect his family and the other slave families on the Shelby farm from a similar fate.

The narrative returns periodically to the Shelby farm to follow the fate of the Shelby family and of Tom’s wife, Aunt Chloe. By the end of the novel, Mr. Shelby’s son, George, after seeing Tom’s brutal fate, frees all the Shelby slaves; therefore, Tom’s bitter end does effect change, at least in one home.

Uncle Tom’s cabin

Uncle Tom’s cabin. Cabin on the Shelby farm in which the slave known as Uncle Tom lives until he is sold and forced to leave behind his wife and family, demonstrating that slaves can never have a true home.

*Ohio River

*Ohio River. First of several bodies of water that play an important role in the novel. This river forms the border between Kentucky and Ohio, and hence between slavery and freedom. Here, Eliza makes her dramatic journey across ice floes to the free state of Ohio, illustrating the risks that a mother will make for her child and underlining the importance of family; Stowe uses this dramatic scene to engender sympathy for her imperiled slave heroine and to show how motherhood transcends race and social circumstances.

*Ohio

*Ohio. Free state to which Eliza flees from Kentucky. She finds refuge, first at the home of Senator and Mrs. Bird and then at the Quaker settlement, where she is reunited with her husband, George. Both these places represent model homes where family members act on moral principle. Senator Bird, although he has recently voted in favor of the Fugitive Slave Law, cannot bring himself to turn in Eliza. Instead, his wife persuades him to act not according to political expediency but moral principle, and he furthers Eliza’s escape.

Words and actions are also one at the Quaker settlement, a model of perfect domesticity, both in its actual physical arrangement as well as its moral order. The group’s actions and principles coincide as they harbor and aid fugitive slaves under the moral guidance of another strong woman, Rachel Halliday.

*Mississippi River

*Mississippi River. Another of the novel’s important rivers, which marks yet another boundary. Aboard the steamship La Belle Rivière (the name of a real steamship on which Stowe’s brother Charles Beecher had traveled when he worked in New Orleans), Tom journeys farther and farther away from his home and family. At the same time, as a novelist, Stowe ventures away from her own firsthand experience. The river also marks the boundary between sections of the novel as Tom gains his second owner, Augustine St. Clare, after rescuing St. Clare’s young daughter Eva from drowning in the river.

*New Orleans

*New Orleans. Louisiana city in which the St. Clare family home is located. Stowe describes the house as an ancient mansion, built in a mixture of styles. The St. Clare home’s confusion of styles and exoticism stand in stark contrast to the ordered simplicity of the Quaker settlement in Ohio. The eccentricity and disorder of the place illustrate the disarray in which slavery leaves families, both black and white. Significantly, the St. Clare family also lacks a strong female moral center as Marie St. Clare devotes her attention to her own invalidism. While both Marie’s daughter, Eva, and her cousin-in-law, Miss Ophelia, try to make up for this lack, neither has control over the household.

*Red River

*Red River. Tributary of the Mississippi that forms part of the Texas-Oklahoma border and flows through Arkansas to Louisiana. The third important river in the novel, it marks yet another boundary between Tom’s old life and his new one. After the death of St. Clare, Tom is sold to Simon Legree and transported on a small boat to Legree’s farm.

Legree plantation

Legree plantation. Louisiana cotton plantation on the Red River that becomes Tom’s final home and illustrates how far his lot has fallen since leaving his Kentucky home. It is run-down, with some windows boarded up. At Legree’s home, the veneer is wholly lifted from slavery, and its brutal ugliness stands fully revealed as Tom meets his fate. Significantly, Legree has only the memory of his dead mother to urge him toward better behavior, and another slave, Cassy, manipulates that memory to her advantage.

*Lake Huron

*Lake Huron. Another important body of water that serves as the boundary between freedom and slavery, Canada and the United States, for the Harris family.

*Montreal

*Montreal. Capital of Quebec, Canada, where the Harris family eventually settles, illustrating that the United States is not able to provide a safe and suitable home for escaped slaves.

*Liberia

*Liberia. West African republic settled largely by freed American slaves who began migrating there in the 1820’s. The Harris family eventually migrates there. This final destination for the Harris family seems to suggest that no room remains for former slaves on the American continent. Tom dies in slavery and the other major slave characters settle elsewhere.

Uncle Tom's Cabin Form and Content (Masterpieces of Women's Literature)

Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Or, Life Among the Lowly is the most powerful and enduring work of art ever written about American slavery. It was the greatest fiction success of the nineteenth century. Uncle Tom, Simon Legree, and Little Eva became symbols known to most people. Although the book was out of print in the middle of the twentieth century, in the 1960’s, with the renewed struggle over civil rights in the South, the book became available again and there was a new interest in the book.

The purpose of Uncle Tom’s Cabin is to provide powerful propaganda against slavery. The theme of the novel is the idea that slavery and Christianity cannot exist together. Stowe believed that the owning, buying, and selling of slaves was inhumane and un-Christian. The widest opposition to slavery, Stowe believed and demonstrated, stemmed from an individual’s—usually a woman’s—outraged feeling. She gave constant examples, presented emotionally, from the world she knew, the world of home and family, of incidents she had seen herself or of stories she had heard that dealt with atrocities to individuals or to family units. She felt that to describe the process of so harshly tearing child from mother, husband from wife, was to expose the heartlessness and cruelty of slavery. The audience to which she appealed consisted largely of women such as herself who could comprehend the horror of families being separated, churchgoing women whom she made to see the inhumane and un-Christian aspects of slavery. She showed her readers how slavery violated the home and went against the religion of her readers. She wrote the book out of religious inspiration.

The passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which not only gave slave owners the right to pursue their escaped slaves even into free states but also forced the people of these free states to assist the slave owners in retrieving their “property” led to Stowe’s decision to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin. She wrote the book in serial format, to be published in the National Era, an abolitionist paper in Washington, D.C. The first chapter was published on June 5, 1851, the last on April 1, 1852.

One learns much about how Uncle Tom’s Cabin was written through anecdotes in the biographies of Harriet Beecher Stowe written by Annie Fields, a fellow author and close friend, and compiled by the son of Harriet, the Reverend Charles Edward Stowe.

According to an account of the creation of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, certain scenes flashed before the eyes of Stowe and she included them in the book. One account said that the dramatic scene of the death of Uncle Tom came to her in church. She finally suggested that she had not written Uncle Tom’s Cabin herself but had taken it in dictation from God.

Uncle Tom's Cabin Context (Masterpieces of Women's Literature)

Harriet Beecher Stowe visited the White House in 1863 to urge President Abraham Lincoln to do something positive about the thousands of slaves who had fled to Washington, D.C. The often-quoted statement by Abraham Lincoln on that occasion, that Mrs. Stowe was “the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war,” points to the role of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in the history of women’s literature, not only because of its impact on the history of women’s literature but also because of its impact on American literature and American history in general. Because of her religious background, Stowe strongly opposed slavery because it was un-Christian. The buying and selling of slaves violated Christian regard for human rights, for the rights of other human beings.

The strongest objection to slavery expressed by Stowe as a woman was that slavery broke up slave families. In Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the strongest, most emotional feelings expressed by the slave Jim were that he missed his family. Stowe stressed the dangers of capitalism to family values. She saw the slave trade as a masculine, unfeeling occupation and appealed to her female readers to end slavery because it destroyed the family. She never viewed women as abolitionists; that was a masculine pursuit. She believed that by writing her novels and appealing to her female reading audience, she could effect a change and abolish slavery. She reflected on the suffering that she herself felt when she lost a child and compared it to what a slave mother must feel when her child is sold away from her.

The enactment of the Fugitive Slave Act led Stowe to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin. From the beginning, Stowe had unequivocally advocated absolute legal freedom for all slaves. She shows in the novel the difference that being free makes on the former slaves. George Harris, once he regarded himself as “free,” held his head up higher and spoke and moved like a different man, even though he was unsure of his safety. Slavery, in its criminal disregard for human souls, in its treatment of human beings as property, was different from and worse than any other atrocity in life.

Uncle Tom's Cabin Historical Context

The Fugitive Slave Law
In its early years as a nation, the United States gradually became divided into two main regions, the...

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Uncle Tom's Cabin Quizzes

Chapter 1: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why does Mr. Shelby need to sell some of his slaves?

2. Describe why Mr. Shelby thinks that Uncle Tom is a responsible servant.

3. What story does Haley tell to Mr. Shelby in regard to selling slaves?

4. What does Harry do to unintentionally attract Haley’s notice?

5. How does Haley view Mr. Shelby’s kindness toward slaves?

6. What is Mr. Shelby’s religious position compared with Mrs. Shelby’s?

7. What does Eliza suspect about Mr. Shelby’s meeting with Haley?

8. How does Mrs. Shelby detect that something is wrong with Eliza?

9. Why does Mrs. Shelby not believe in Eliza’s fears that Mr. Shelby...

(The entire section is 402 words.)

Chapters 2-3: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why does George’s master take him away from the factory?

2. What makes George hold his temper?

3. What earlier tragedy did Eliza go through in her marriage?

4. What does the good-hearted factory employer offer to persuade Mr. Harris to let George stay?

5. What does Mr. Harris think about George’s hemp-cleaning machine?

6. Describe what George tells to Eliza about his experiences on the Harris plantation.

7. Describe what Mr. Harris has planned for George.

8. Why does Eliza fail at first to understand George’s situation?

9. How does George explain to Eliza the reality of their marriage?

...

(The entire section is 353 words.)

Chapters 4-5: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What hangs over the fireplace in Uncle Tom’s cabin?

2. What three things does young Master George do on his visit to the cabin?

3. How does Master George jest with Aunt Chloe?

4. From which part of the Bible does Master George read?

5. What makes Mrs. Shelby question her husband about Haley?

6. What does Mrs. Shelby call herself to justify her arguments against selling Harry and Tom?

7. Why does Mrs. Shelby call the deal to sell Harry and Tom “God’s curse on slavery”?

8. How does Mr. Shelby defend himself on religious grounds?

9. Why does Tom decide to stay when Eliza tells him of Mr. Shelby’s...

(The entire section is 290 words.)

Chapter 6: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How does Mrs. Shelby find out that Eliza is missing?

2. What is Mr. and Mrs. Shelbys’ reaction to the news of Eliza’s escape?

3. Who is the only servant in the house who is not surprised?

4. What other information shocks the servants?

5. What is Sam’s initial boast to Andy?

6. How does Andy caution Sam regarding the chase?

7. After Haley’s horse bolts, what does Sam do?

8. After Sam catches Haley’s horse, what does he advise?

9. How does Mrs. Shelby contribute to delaying the hunt?

10. What are Sam’s and Andy’s reaction to the success of their delay tactics?

...

(The entire section is 258 words.)

Chapters 7-8: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why does Eliza take her time walking with Harry?

2. How does Aunt Chloe delay the preparation of dinner at the Shelbys?

3. How does Aunt Chloe react to Tom’s advice to pray for Haley?

4. What is Tom’s concern once he is taken away by Haley?

5. What does Mr. Shelby promise Haley?

6. What does Haley think is the hardest part of slave trading?

7. Describe Loker’s and Marks’s plans once they catch Eliza.

8. What does Haley request from the slavecatchers?

9. How does Sam explain the miracle of Eliza’s escape across the river?

10. What does Aunt Chloe do for Sam upon his return?

...

(The entire section is 262 words.)

Chapter 9: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What issue prompts Mrs. Bird to discuss politics with her husband?

2. What does Mrs. Bird call the Fugitive Slave Law?

3. Why does Senator Bird at first believe that the law is “right and Christian”?

4. What does Senator Bird suggest to his wife when they see Eliza and Harry?

5. How does Eliza gain the sympathy of Mrs. Bird?

6. What do the Birds give to Harry?

7. Why does Senator Bird want to move Eliza and Harry to Van Trompe’s place?

8. Why does Senator Bird himself take them to Van Trompe’s?

9. From where is Van Trompe originally?

10. What does Senator Bird give to Van Trompe to pass...

(The entire section is 236 words.)

Chapter 10: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What chores are Chloe doing for Tom before he leaves?

2. What does Chloe think Mr. Shelby owes Tom?

3. Why does Mrs. Shelby believe that giving money to Tom is not worthwhile?

4. What does Haley do when he takes Tom?

5. What had Master George been doing before he says goodbye to Tom?

6. Where do Haley and Tom stop on their journey?

7. Where does George put the dollar coin that he gives to Tom?

8. What threat does George promise to Haley?

9. What is George ashamed of being?

10. What does Haley promise to Tom?

Answers
1. Chloe irons Tom’s clothes and cooks the last...

(The entire section is 240 words.)

Chapter 11: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How does George Harris use his appearance to pass as a gentleman?

2. What is ironic about the name that George assumes?

3. What Bible passage does Mr. Wilson quote to George?

4. With what example does George confront Mr. Wilson?

5. How does George convince Mr. Wilson that he is ready to risk escape and even death?

6. What ideas about government does George get from listening to Fourth of July speeches?

7. What did George’s father do to his family?

8. Who encouraged George to read and write?

9. What country does George feel safe to call his own?

10. What last instructions does George leave for...

(The entire section is 273 words.)

Chapter 12: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Where do Haley and Uncle Tom stay while in Washington, D.C.?

2. What does Aunt Hagar promise to Haley if he buys her together with her son?

3. What is Albert’s special relationship to his mother?

4. Which passenger on the riverboat quotes the Bible to defend slavery?

5. Which passenger comments adversely on slavery and questions Haley?

6. How does Haley defend his position as a trader?

7. What makes some passengers think more about the horrors of slavery?

8. Why does Haley sell Lucy’s child to the stranger?

9. Who first discovers that Lucy has jumped overboard?

10. How does Haley feel about...

(The entire section is 244 words.)

Chapter 13: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What does Rachel Halliday ask about Eliza’s plans?

2. What does Rachel offer Eliza?

3. Why does Eliza decline Rachel’s offer?

4. What does Ruth Stedman bring for Harry?

5. To whom does Simeon Halliday first tell the news of George Harris’ arrival?

6. Who tells Eliza the news of her husband’s coming?

7. What does Eliza dream about during her fainting spell?

8. What must Simeon do if he is caught helping the Harrises escape?

9. What does George worry about regarding the Hallidays?

10. What does Simeon advise George to do regarding the escape plans?

Answers
1....

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Chapters 14-15 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What makes Tom think of his old home in Kentucky?

2. How does Tom first attract Eva’s attention?

3. Why does St. Clare kid Haley about Tom’s piousness?

4. Why is Tom offended when St. Clare buys him?

5. From where did the St. Clare family originate?

6. Which of his parents does St. Clare take after?

7. What event reawakens St. Clare’s tenderness and interest in his marriage?

8. What does Miss Ophelia consider the “great sin of sins”?

9. What gifts does St. Clare bring to his wife?

10. What does Miss Ophelia prescribe as a cure for Marie’s headache?

Answers
...

(The entire section is 240 words.)

Chapter 16: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why does St. Clare tell Marie that her chores and worries will lessen?

2. In what ways does Marie think that her servants are spoiled?

3. Why does Marie believe that her daughter Eva is peculiar?

4. What does Marie criticize about her husband’s treatment of the servants?

5. Despite her silence at Marie’s talks about the servants, how does Miss Ophelia really feel about St. Clare’s wife?

6. How does Ophelia react when she sees Eva embracing Uncle Tom?

7. What is Uncle Tom’s job at the St. Clare residence when he is not the coachman?

8. What explanation does St. Clare give for not attending church services?...

(The entire section is 248 words.)

Chapter 17: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What occupation does Eliza hope to pursue when she gets to Canada?

2. What does George plan on doing for his master and Mr. Shelby?

3. What does George bring out when he hears the news of slave catchers being nearby?

4. Why does Phineas go along with the party of escaped slaves?

5. At what sport does Phineas excel?

6. What does Ruth Stedman bring for the Harris family?

7. Who fires the first shot at George?

8. Why do the slave catchers leave Tom Loker?

9. When Phineas binds Loker’s wounds, who does the slave catcher mistake him for?

10. What do Eliza and Jim’s mother worry about regarding...

(The entire section is 207 words.)

Chapters 18-19: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What does Tom say to make St. Clare stop drinking?

2. What is Old Dinah’s rule to live by in the kitchen?

3. What does Prue bring with her to sell?

4. What does Miss Ophelia think about Prue and her habits?

5. When Uncle Tom tells Prue about heaven, why does she think that she will hate it there?

6. What reason does St. Clare give as a defense against whipping a slave to death?

7. What has St. Clare been tempted to do when he seriously thinks about the effects of slavery, especially on children?

8. What does St. Clare point to in New England that makes that region less righteous in its stance against slavery?

...

(The entire section is 313 words.)

Chapter 20: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What does Topsy do at St. Clare’s request to show Miss Ophelia?

2. How does Ophelia protest the imposition of Topsy upon her?

3. How did St. Clare first learn about Topsy?

4. What does Ophelia see on Topsy when giving her a bath?

5. Why does Topsy not know who her parents are, or how old she is?

6. What does Ophelia first teach Topsy how to do?

7. Why does Topsy confess to stealing things that she did not take?

8. What does Eva command of the other servants regarding Topsy?

9. Why does Ophelia give in to whipping Topsy?

10. What does St. Clare disapprove of in Ophelia’s education of Topsy?...

(The entire section is 262 words.)

Chapter 21: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. When does Mrs. Shelby decide to talk to Mr. Shelby about buying Tom?

2. What is Mr. Shelby’s initial reaction to hearing that Tom is being treated well?

3. What is Mrs. Shelby’s first suggestion to her husband for raising money to buy Tom?

4. What is Mrs. Shelby’s second suggestion after Mr. Shelby rejects her first?

5. In what roundabout way does Chloe bring up the subject of working for a baker to earn money?

6. Where is the baker located?

7. How did Chloe learn about working for the baker?

8. How much would Chloe earn from her work?

9. What does Chloe ask Mrs. Shelby about Louisville?

...

(The entire section is 256 words.)

Chapters 22-24: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How does Uncle Tom hear about his family on the Shelby plantation?

2. What prompts Eva to think about heaven as she and Tom sit by the lake?

3. Whom does Eva decide to teach how to read after her mother scoffs at the idea?

4. Why does Henrique strike Dodo?

5. What saying does Augustine St. Clare quote to his brother regarding the dangers of Henrique’s loss of self-control?

6. What does St. Clare worry about after Eva and Henrique return from their ride?

7. Who first brings Eva’s state of health to the attention of Augustine and Marie St. Clare?

8. What does Eva wish to her father regarding the servants?

...

(The entire section is 281 words.)

Chapters 25-27: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Where was Miss Ophelia when Topsy cut up the bonnet?

2. What does Marie St. Clare advise that Ophelia should do with Topsy?

3. What does Eva’s lecture to Topsy remind St. Clare of?

4. What reasoning does Eva give to try to convince her mother of Topsy’s goodness?

5. Why does Eva give everyone a lock of her hair?

6. What service does Uncle Tom perform for Eva during her last days?

7. After Eva dies, what does Topsy still want to bring into the bedroom?

8. When St. Clare does not weep at his daughter’s death, what does Marie think?

9. When St. Clare reads Eva’s Bible, what does he confess to Tom?...

(The entire section is 230 words.)

Chapters 28-29: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why does St. Clare feel that with Eva’s death, he has lost everything?

2. Why does St. Clare keep company with Tom more and more?

3. Before his plans to return to Kentucky, what does Tom promise to do for St. Clare?

4. Why does Miss Ophelia want to legally own Topsy?

5. What is St. Clare’s concern once the servants are emancipated?

6. Why are the servants worried about their future?

7. What does Marie intend to prove by sending Rosa to the whipping-house?

8. How does Tom hear about the servants being sold?

9. How does Miss Ophelia invoke Eva’s and St. Clare’s names to argue for Tom’s freedom?...

(The entire section is 312 words.)

Chapters 30-32: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What does Tom bring with him to the slave warehouse?

2. Why are some of the bidders unwilling to buy St. Clare’s servants?

3. What last words of advice does Susan give to Emmeline?

4. What does Simon Legree want to know about Tom before the auction?

5. When Susan is bought by a humane gentleman, what does he try to do at her request?

6. When Simon Legree searches through Tom’s possessions, what does he find that tells him that Tom is religious?

7. What plans does Legree have for Tom and Emmeline?

8. Why does Legree frequently purchase slaves?

9. Why is Legree’s plantation run-down?

10....

(The entire section is 288 words.)

Chapters 33-34: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why does Legree want to break Tom’s gentle character?

2. What does Tom notice about Lucy that makes him help her in the fields?

3. When Sambo catches Tom helping Lucy, what is Legree’s reaction when he learns about it?

4. What does Tom declare that he would rather do than whip somebody?

5. How does Legree try to argue his case on religious grounds for Tom to obey him?

6. When Legree says that he has purchased Tom body and soul, what is Tom’s reply?

7. What does Cassy suggest that Tom give up after his beating?

8. How long has Cassy been on the Legree plantation?

9. From where is Cassy originally?...

(The entire section is 259 words.)

Chapters 35-36: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Whom does Legree first blame for the misjudgment of beating Tom?

2. What made Legree send Cassy to work in the fields?

3. Why did Cassy return to Legree’s house after laboring in the fields?

4. What does Sambo think that Tom’s coin and lock of hair are?

5. Of what does Eva’s curls remind Legree?

6. What does Emmeline say that she is not afraid of?

7. How does Cassy respond to Emmeline’s wishes to escape?

8. How does Emmeline respond to Cassy’s longing for death?

9. What does Cassy tell Legree regarding her part in managing the plantation?

10. Why does Cassy know that Tom will never...

(The entire section is 248 words.)

Chapter 37: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What does Tom Loker grumble about regarding his care by Aunt Dorcas?

2. What does Loker warn Aunt Dorcas about regarding the Harris family?

3. What bothers Aunt Dorcas about Tom Loker’s behavior?

4. What concerns does George have about the escape plan?

5. What does Eliza wear to disguise herself as a man?

6. What is Mrs. Smyth’s role in the escape plan?

7. From where is Mrs. Smyth originally?

8. What does George overhear as he boards the boat?

9. At which town in Canada does the Harris family arrive?

10. Where do the Harrises stay once they have reached Canada?

...

(The entire section is 214 words.)

Chapters 38-40: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why does Legree now work his slaves every day?

2. What is Tom too exhausted to do in his leisure time?

3. What does Legree suggest that Tom do with his Bible?

4. What arouses Tom from his spiritual lethargy?

5. When Tom becomes more cheerful, what explanation does Sambo suggest to Legree for this change?

6. What legend haunts the garret in Legree’s house?

7. What does Cassy put into the knothole in the garret?

8. What does Legree notice about the book that Cassy has been reading?

9. Regarding the capture of Cassy and Emmeline, what orders does Legree give to Sambo and Quimbo?

10. Why does...

(The entire section is 288 words.)

Chapters 41-42: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What is Legree’s initial reaction to Master George’s inquiries about Tom?

2. What had some of Legree’s other slaves been doing for Tom?

3. What does Tom request of Master George regarding Tom’s family?

4. What does Tom ask of Master George when the boy expresses his anger about Legree?

5. What does Master George bury with Tom?

6. Who are the “ghosts” that haunt the Legree house?

7. What image continues to terrorize Legree?

8. Why does Master George initially offer his assistance to Cassy?

9. What is Madame de Thoux’s purpose in going to Kentucky?

10. How does Cassy discover that...

(The entire section is 304 words.)

Chapters 43-44: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What occupation does George have in Canada?

2. Who are the Harrises’ visitors when they are sitting down for tea?

3. How does Cassy react when she sees her granddaughter Little Eliza?

4. What does George desire when his sister Emily provides him with funds?

5. Although George is a mulatto, his father being white and his mother black, where do his sympathies lie?

6. Why does George opt to help Africans rather that enslaved blacks in America?

7. What makes Mrs. Shelby uneasy when she receives a letter from Master George, who is on his way home?

8. What does Aunt Chloe do with the money she had raised to buy Tom when...

(The entire section is 312 words.)

Chapter 45: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why does the author include real life incidents in the final chapter?

2. With what anecdote did the author’s brother provide her regarding the character for Simon Legree?

3. What does Stowe say is the only thing that would protect a slave from abuse?

4. What law prompted Stowe to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin?

5. What effects does slavery have on its victims?

6. What is the most sought after goal that freed slaves desire?

7. Where did Stowe gain some of her personal knowledge of slavery?

8. How does the author view the role of the church?

9. What is the author’s intent by listing several free blacks’...

(The entire section is 264 words.)