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Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin


by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Uncle Tom's Cabin Chapter 7 Summary

READ THE BOOK: Chapter 7

  • Desperate, Eliza runs all night long, her child in her arms, her mind confused and sorrowful. Yet her mother’s love urges her on.
  • The narrator addresses mothers (meaning white mothers) and asks if they wouldn’t do the same, if their children were in danger?
  • Eliza takes the road to town. Eventually, she realizes that her running makes her even more conspicuous, so she makes Harry walk and they take a more moderate pace through town.
  • Eliza also realizes, though, that she is fair-skinned enough to pass for white, which may keep her from standing out as a fugitive slave.
  • Finally, Eliza reaches a village near the Ohio River. She looks at the river, raging and swollen and full of blocks of ice.
  • She goes to a small public house to ask about the possibility of crossing.
  • Eliza tells the woman inside the pub that Eliza’s son is quite ill and she needs to get to the other side of the river.
  • The kindly stranger replies that ferries are no longer operating, but that somebody is planning to go tonight, if the river is safe enough to cross. In the meantime, Eliza and Harry can stay in a back bedroom and rest.
  • Meanwhile, at the Shelby household, Aunt Chloe takes her sweet time getting lunch ready for Mr. Haley. She says that Mr. Haley is going to hell with Jake, one of the other slaves.
  • Uncle Tom is called to the parlor. Mr. Haley tells him he’s counting on Tom not to play any tricks (like trying to escape), while Mr. Shelby lets him know that he’s depending on Tom’s honest, Christian nature.
  • Mrs. Shelby promises that she will redeem Tom as soon as they have the money to do it.
  • Sam, for his part, continues to delay Mr. Haley in his pursuit of Eliza. Through subtle persuasion, Sam manages to convince Mr. Haley to take a road that dead ends in the middle of nowhere. Finally, though, Sam and Mr. Haley hit the right road; they make good time, straight to the town that Eliza is staying in.
  • Eliza sees them approaching through the window, only three-quarters of an hour after she laid Harry down to rest.
  • Sam sees Eliza in the window first and tries to distract Mr. Haley by managing to get his hat blown off his head.
  • With Harry clutched in her arms, Eliza runs through a side door straight to the river. Mr. Haley sees her and runs in hot pursuit.
  • She jumps onto the blocks of ice in the river and makes it to the other side.
  • Reaching the opposite shore, Eliza sees a gentleman she knows, Mr. Symmes, who helps her up the bank. She asks him to save her and he decides to take her to a nearby house where some people live who would be willing to help her.
  • Mr. Haley decides Eliza is possessed by seven devils.
  • Sam and Andy agree that it’s time to get on home because they can’t take the horses across the ice. They bid goodbye to Mr. Haley.

READ THE BOOK: Chapter 7

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