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Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin

by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Uncle Tom's Cabin Chapter 30 Summary

  • Though we might conjure up a picture of a hell house when we think of slave warehouses, the narrator assures us that they are actually quite genteel – they have to be nice so they don’t offend the sensibilities of white ladies and gentlemen.
  • Tom and Adolph endure taunts from other slaves. One slave calls Adolph a "white nigger," meaning that Adolph thinks he’s a gentleman.
  • Adolph doesn’t quite get the taunts and responds proudly that he belongs to the St. Clare family, clearly forgetting that soon, he’s to be sold.
  • The narrator tells us about a mother and daughter, Susan and Emmeline, who are in the women’s room of the warehouse. The two women belonged to a kind mistress who taught them to read and helped them become Christians. Now they’re going to be sold.
  • Susan is worried about her daughter’s virtue. She doesn’t want Emmeline to seem too pretty, so she tells the young woman to comb back her curls.
  • In the morning, however, Mr. Skeggs, the keeper, tells Emmeline to put her curls back. It can make the difference of a hundred dollars, he says, if a slave girl looks attractive.
  • Some "gentlemen" discuss the slaves for sale, and one of them says he wouldn’t buy a St. Clare slave for the world: they’re too extravagant. The other says that he’ll take the extravagance out of the St. Clare slaves soon enough.
  • A short, broad, muscular man comes up and begins to examine the different slaves for sale. Tom feels horror and repulsion as the man approaches, but he endures the examination.
  • Then the man moves on to examine Emmeline, who starts to cry.
  • Adolph is sold. Tom is sold to the man who gave him the creeps. Susan is sold; she asks the man to buy her daughter as well, but he can’t afford the girl. So Emmeline is also sold to Tom’s new master.

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