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Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin

by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Uncle Tom's Cabin Chapter 45 Summary

  • The narrator takes the time here to deliver a sermon to make sure everybody gets the message if they missed it while reading the novel.
  • First, we learn that many people have asked the writer if this narrative is true. She explains that the separate incidents are all authentic and have happened either in front of her own eyes or to people she knows.
  • She says that, regardless of how rare murders such as Tom’s might be, even once is far too often.
  • She also says that the generosity and fairness that she attributes to St. Clare can be found in several slave owners in the South. She hopes she has "done justice to that nobility, generosity, and humanity which in many cases characterizes individuals at the South." Unfortunately, these traits are not common among slave owners. However, before rebuking southern culture too much, she reminds us that such individuals are not common anywhere.
  • She appeals to the generous-minded people of the south, asking if man should really be trusted with "irresponsible power"?
  • She asks the men and women of America if they can remain silent when such a brutal system is perpetuated within the nation?
  • She says that the men and women of the free states are also responsible for this terrible system, because they have defended, encouraged, and participated in the slave trade. She adds that, in fact, they are guiltier than those in the South because northerners have not been born and bred into the slave trade.
  • What can the individual do? Individuals can judge and individuals can pray. But they can also assist fugitives.
  • She mentions Africa as a refuge for former slaves who are not wanted anywhere, including in the north.
  • But, she says, this is only a partial solution. Former slaves and those still in chains need to be educated and trained.
  • She concludes by exhorting the Christian church to think about its duty carefully and do what’s right. The church must, she says, repent and provide justice and mercy.

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