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Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin


by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Uncle Tom's Cabin Chapter 28 Summary

READ THE BOOK: Chapter 28

  • St. Clare tells Tom that he intends to set him free. Tom is overjoyed but he says he won’t leave until "Mas’r" is a Christian.
  • A servant accuses Topsy of stealing something, but the girl is just holding Eva’s curl and some scripture verses in a little packet. She admits that she holds these keepsakes as a reminder of Miss Eva.
  • Miss Ophelia wants St. Clare to sign Topsy over to her, making Topsy Miss Ophelia’s legal property. St. Clare says he’ll be glad to do it one day, but Miss Ophelia wants him to take care of the paperwork NOW.
  • You never know when death will strike, she says, and she wants this done sooner rather than later. Miss Ophelia means to take Topsy to the North and make her a free woman.
  • St. Clare reads some Bible verses to Tom about how people who don’t help the poor and needy will be cast into the fires of hell.
  • St. Clare is thoughtful, commenting that he himself is just like these sinners – living a life of pleasure, unconcerned about the suffering of others.
  • Miss Ophelia and St. Clare discuss how it is not enough just to refrain from doing harm.
  • You can’t be a good person unless you also actively do good in the world.
  • St. Clare relates this principle to his lack of involvement in the abolition movement. He hopes now to do his duty to the poor and lowly.
  • St. Clare does point out a problem with instant emancipation (freeing the slaves all at once), which is that it is unreasonable to expect people raised and trained for slavery to integrate into society instantly and seamlessly. Without education in a broad range of skills, St. Clare sees instant emancipation as cruelty.
  • St. Clare goes out for an hour while Tom sits on the verandah to think about the promise of freedom. He begins to get excited as he contemplates working to buy his wife and children so they can all be free.
  • Tom falls asleep and wakes up to the sound of knocking at the door.
  • Several men bring in a body lying on a shutter: it’s St. Clare.
  • Apparently, St. Clare tried to stop a bar brawl and was stabbed. As he dies, St. Clare asks Tom to pray for him. He cries out "Mother!" and is gone.

READ THE BOOK: Chapter 28

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