Sample Essay Outlines
In Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe emphasizes that the effects of slavery are as tragic for the slave as for the slave-holder. Discuss why Mr. Shelby and Augustine St. Clare are ambivalent figures because of their involvement in slavery.
I. Thesis Statement: Mr. Shelby and Augustine St. Clare are ambivalent figures because despite being humane slave owners, they unwittingly contribute to their slaves’ miseries.
II. The slave owners’ humanity
A. Both treat their slaves humanely
B. Mr. Shelby repulsed by Haley the slave trader
C. St. Clare knows slavery is wrong
D. St. Clare exposes Miss Ophelia’s hypocritical stance on slavery
III. The slave owners’ carelessness
A. Mr. Shelby falls into debt and must sell Tom and Harry
B. Mr. Shelby refuses help from his wife
C. St. Clare opposes slavery, but cannot free his slaves
D. St. Clare stalls at writing Tom’s free papers and dies
IV. Their unintentional effects on Uncle Tom
A. Mr. Shelby separates Tom from his family
B. St. Clare dies and Simon Legree buys Tom
Uncle Tom and Eva St. Clare can be considered as saintly martyrs. Explain how each fits this description with regard to slavery and religion, referring to examples from the book.
I. Thesis Statement: Uncle Tom and Eva St. Clare are saintly martyrs because both share the qualities of Christ-like piety: sacrificing their lives to help others, being generous, humble, and forgiving.
II. Uncle Tom
A. Understanding and forgiving of Mr. Shelby for selling him
B. Calms anger of Aunt Chloe and Master George
C. Helps other laborers on the Legree plantation
D. Stops Cassy from killing Legree
E. Pities Legree while suffering beatings and death
III. Little Eva
A. Wants to buy Tom to make him happy
B. Befriends and loves Topsy when no one else does
C. Convinces Henrique St. Clare to love Dodo
D. Indirectly influences Miss Ophelia to love Topsy
E. Tries to convert her father, Augustine St. Clare
F. On her deathbed, tells servants to live...
(The entire section is 508 words.)