How do you interpret Tom's relationship to the white characters in the story Uncle Tom's Cabin?

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

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I think that Stowe has constructed Tom's relationship to White characters in the story as representative of how Christianity is meant to create bonds between individuals. Tom's relationship to transcendence is evident when Christianity is praised and its tenets upheld.  Tom's connection to White people lies in where Christianity and its tenets exist. Its absence represents the potential for absence of bonds between human beings.  For example, Tom's relationship with Simon is one predicated upon how Tom views Christianity as a higher notion of the good. The lack of Christian reciprocity between both represents how Tom is seeing consciousness as representative of Christian notions of the good.  His refusal to acquiesce to a form of life that Simon wishes him to embrace is representative of how Christianity humanizes and "angelizes" those who follow it.  Simon is a monster, in part, because he refuses to accept Christian tenets.  Tom's relationship to George Shelby is one in which the humanizing impact of Christianity is seen in George's emancipation of all slave on his plantation.  Tom's relationship with Arthur Shelby is much in the same light.  The shared understanding of tenets that can be associated with Christianity is where Tom's relationship with them enables them to transcend what is into what should be.  When these tenets are not as evident, such as with Simon, Tom comes to represent this notion even if others around him do not accept it.  In this, Tom's relationship to the White characters in the story becomes connected to the tenets of Christian thought and action.

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