Chapter 1: Summary and Analysis

New Characters:
Mr. Shelby: benevolent owner of a Kentucky plantation

Mrs. Shelby: Mr. Shelby’s religious wife

Haley: a slave trader

Eliza: Mrs. Shelby’s servant, Harry’s mother

Harry: four- or five-year-old son of Eliza

The book opens with a scene in which Mr. Shelby and Haley the slave trader are discussing business matters on Shelby’s plantation in Kentucky. Mr. Shelby, a gentleman planter described as “a fair average kind of man, good-natured and kindly,” has fallen into debt and must sell Uncle Tom, a trustworthy servant. Mr. Shelby vouches for Tom’s good working habits and Christian character. Haley, however, desires...

(The entire section is 793 words.)