In chapter twenty-one, there are many interesting concepts and events! However, one of the most interesting concepts is the dilemma that occurs after Tom sends a letter to Chloe. As a result, Mr. and Mrs. Shelby must face the financial struggles and moral responsibility. Subsequently, concepts such as women’s status and slaves’ status are further revealed.
During this chapter, Mr. and Mrs. Shelby’s finances are again exposed as being in a quite dire state of affairs. Mrs. Shelby wishes to help her husband by discussing the problem with him. Unfortunately, Mr. Shelby indicates that his wife is not able to help in anyway. Thus, he refuses to even speak to his wife about this predicament. Furthermore, Mrs. Shelby offers to help earn extra money by teaching piano lessons. However, her husband indicates that this work is beneath her. As a result, Mrs. Shelby is not able to discuss the matter or help in anyway due to her status of being a woman.
Furthermore, the status of the slaves’ rights is further illustrated in this chapter. Mr. Shelby blames Mrs. Shelby for encouraging the slaves to have morals and believe in the sanctity of marriage among themselves. Mr. Shelby states:
It’s a pity, wife, that you have burdened them with a morality above their condition and prospects.
Thus, in this chapter we can see that slaves and women are both treated as subservient to the white male during this time period. While slaves were treated in ways beyond comparison, the discrimination of women is often forgotten or overlooked during this era. In this chapter, Stowe reveals the discrimination for both slaves and women.
Stowe, Harriet Beecher, and Amanda Claybaugh. Uncle Tom's Cabin. Ed.
George Stade. New York: Barnes & Noble Classics, 2003. Print.