Uncle Tom, a slave. Although he is good and unrebellious, he is sold by his owner. After serving a second kind but improvident master, he comes under the ownership of brutal Simon Legree and dies as a result of his beatings.
Eliza, a slave. Learning that her child is about to be sold away along with Tom, she takes the child and runs away, crossing the Ohio River by leaping from floating ice cake to floating ice cake.
George Harris, her husband, a slave on a neighboring plantation. He also escapes, passing as a Spaniard, and reaches Ohio, where he joins his wife and child. Together, they go to freedom in Canada.
Harry, the child of Eliza and George.
Mr. Shelby, the original owner of Eliza, Harry, and Uncle Tom. Encumbered by debt, he plans to sell a slave to his chief creditor.
Haley, the buyer, a New Orleans slave dealer. He shrewdly selects Uncle Tom and persuades Mr. Shelby to part with Harry in spite of his better feelings.
George Shelby, Mr. Shelby’s son. He promises to buy Tom back one day but arrives at Legree’s plantation as Tom is dying. When his father dies, he frees all his slaves in Uncle Tom’s name.
Mrs. Shelby, Mr. Shelby’s wife. She delays the pursuit of Eliza by serving a late breakfast.
Loker, slave-catchers hired by Haley to track Eliza through Ohio. Loker, wounded by George Harris in a fight, is given medical treatment by the Quakers who are protecting the runaways.
Augustine St. Clare
Augustine St. Clare, the purchaser of Tom after Tom saves his daughter’s life. He dies before making arrangements necessary to free his slaves.
Eva St. Clare
Eva St. Clare, his saintly and frail daughter. Before her death, she asks her father to free his slaves.
Mrs. St. Clare
Mrs. St. Clare, a hypochondriac invalid. After her husband’s death, she sends Tom to the slave market.
Miss Ophelia, St. Clare’s cousin from the North. She comes to look after Eva and is unused to lavish Southern customs.
Topsy, a pixie-like black child bought by St. Clare for Miss Ophelia to educate; later, he makes the gift legal.
Simon Legree, the alcoholic and superstitious brute who purchases Tom and kills him. He is a Northerner by birth.
Cassy, Legree’s slave. She uses his superstitions to advantage in her escape. Her young daughter, who was sold years ago, proves to be Eliza, and mother and daughter are reunited in Canada.
Emmeline, another of Legree’s slaves. She escapes with Cassy.
Madame de Thoux
Madame de Thoux, whom Cassy and Emmeline meet on a northbound riverboat. She proves to be George Harris’ sister.
Aunt Chloe, Uncle Tom’s wife, left behind in Uncle Tom’s cabin on the Shelby plantation.
Senator Bird, in whose house Eliza first finds shelter in Ohio.
Mrs. Bird, his wife.
Simeon Halliday and
Rachel Halliday, who give shelter to the fugitive slaves.
Following three slaves and their experiences in and out of slavery, Stowe's novel deals with the effects of slavery on both blacks and whites in the antebellum, or pre- Civil War South. The title character in the book, Tom, is a slave who lives first with the Shelbys of Kentucky, then with the St. Clares of New Orleans, and finally on the plantation of Simon Legree in Louisiana. At the Shelbys, where Tom holds the affectionate name of Uncle Tom, he is married to Chloe, and they have three children. Stowe tried to show in this novel how slaves were capable of creating loving, Christian families, just like free whites. Uncle Tom's cabin is all hearth and family, with Chloe cooking at the stove, the children tumbling about on the floor, and Tom bouncing the baby on his knee. Tom is a converted Christian, and he is looked up to by the other slaves as a religious figure. He succeeds in converting others to his beloved Christianity. At the St. Clares, Tom and little Eva share a powerful belief in God and heaven.
(The entire section is 2,199 words.)