How would you contrast the ideas of Marie and Augustine St. Claire?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Marie St. Claire and her husband Augustine are complete opposites in their ideas.  Marie is totally self-centered in her outlook on life.  A former Southern beauty, she is narcissistic and demanding, feigning illness to draw attention, constantly complaining that her kind-hearted husband does not pay her enough heed, and viewing her own sweet and good-tempered daughter as a rival in her insatiable need for attention.  Marie St. Claire's attitude towards slaves is an extension of the way she looks at the world in general.  She treats her slaves badly, believing that they are less than human, and exist solely to fulfill her needs.

In contrast to his wife, Augustine St. Claire is thoughtful and kind to everyone in his world.  He loves his daughter and is tolerant of his wife despite her unpleasant and demanding nature.  Although he is a slave-owner, Augustine St. Claire is a kind master, and, has done a good bit of philosophising on the institution of bondage.  In his thinking about slavery, Augustine has surprisingly liberal and humanitarian views.  Augustine St. Claire sincerely intends to free his slaves during his lifetime, but unfortunately, despite his high ideals, he is not a man of action.  He dies before he has taken advantage of the opportunity to fulfill his noble intentions, and at his death, his slaves are sold to depraved and unscrupulous owners to the south to pay his debts.

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Uncle Tom's Cabin

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