Chapter 10: Summary and Analysis
The scene returns to Uncle Tom’s cabin. Tom gets ready to be taken and sold by Haley. Tom accepts his fate, saying, “I’m in the Lord’s hands.” Aunt Chloe, however, expresses her anguish at the injustice of the situation and finds little comfort in religion. Mrs. Shelby stops by the cabin to let Tom know that she will try to buy him back as soon as possible.
Haley then arrives to seize Tom. As they leave the plantation, Master George rides up to say his goodbyes to Tom. Knowing how their son is attached to Tom, the Shelbys decide not to tell Master George of the trade while he is visiting friends. Master George, however, rides back to the plantation in time and gives Tom a dollar coin. The slave then kindly lectures the boy to behave and respect his parents. Although stopped by Tom from harming Haley, Master George promises that when he is grown, he will neither buy nor sell slaves.
This chapter focuses on the breakup of Tom’s family. Feelings of frustration and sadness, along with a certain helplessness in their situation, affect many of the slaves. Although Chloe is considered pious, she cannot find consolation in prayer and her husband’s spiritual advice. The children are too young to be concerned at first, but start to cry when they see their unhappy parents. The other slaves gather to bid their sad farewells to Tom, who they respect as “a head servant and a Christian teacher.”
The strain of Tom’s departure shows among the Shelby family as well. When Mrs. Shelby visits Tom and Chloe in their cabin, Chloe initially greets Mrs. Shelby with hostility. This feeling vanishes later when Mrs. Shelby promises that she will do whatever is necessary to get Tom back. Mr. Shelby, because of his guilty conscience, is not even present on the plantation so that he “might not witness the unpleasant scenes” that he had started by selling Tom. Master George exchanges some threatening words with Haley, but is restrained from violence by Tom. Master George has learned the most from this lesson of...
(The entire section is 541 words.)