Uncle Tom's Cabin
How we cite our quotes:
"Why, which do you like the best, – to live as they do at your uncle's, up in Vermont, or to have a house-full of servants, as we do?"
"O, of course, our way is the pleasantest," said Eva.
"Why so?" said St. Clare, stroking her head.
"Why, it makes so many more round you to love, you know," said Eva, looking up earnestly. (16.170-173)
Eva does not see a house full of servants or slaves; she sees a house full of members of the family, people who love her and whom she can love. Eva’s unconditional, universal love, extended to everyone around her, reminds us that she has a Christ-like nature.
"What does make you so bad, Topsy? Why won't you try and be good? Don't you love anybody, Topsy?"
"Donno nothing 'bout love; I loves candy and sich, that's all," said Topsy.
"But you love your father and mother?"
"Never had none, ye know. I telled ye that, Miss Eva."
"O, I know," said Eva, sadly; "but hadn't you any brother, or sister, or aunt, or – "
"No, none on 'em, – never had nothing nor nobody."
"But, Topsy, if you'd only try to be good, you might – "
"Couldn't never be nothin' but a nigger, if I was ever so good," said Topsy. "If I could be skinned, and come white, I'd try then."
"But people can love you, if you are black, Topsy. Miss Ophelia would love you, if you were good." (25.34-42)
Eva points the reader to the cause of Topsy’s bad behavior and, the passage implies, of all sinful activity: not loving anyone, which is, in turn, caused by not being loved to begin with. Because Topsy has only learned about punishment and suffering, she has nothing on which to base morality or affection. Her experience has taught her, tragically, that blacks can’t be loved, especially by whites.
"O, Topsy, poor child, I love you!" said Eva, with a sudden burst of feeling, and laying her little thin, white hand on Topsy's shoulder; "I love you, because you haven't had any father, or mother, or friends; – because you've been a poor, abused child! I love you, and I want you to be good. I am very unwell, Topsy, and I think I shan't live a great while; and it really grieves me, to have you be so naughty. I wish you would try to be good, for my sake; – it's only a little while I shall be with you."
The round, keen eyes of the black child were overcast with tears; – large, bright drops rolled heavily down, one by one, and fell on the little white hand. Yes, in that moment, a ray of real belief, a ray of heavenly love, had penetrated the darkness of her heathen soul! She laid her head down between her knees, and wept and sobbed, – while the beautiful child, bending over her, looked like the picture of some bright angel stooping to reclaim a sinner.
"Poor Topsy!" said Eva, "don't you know that Jesus loves all alike? He is just as willing to love you, as me. He loves you just as I do, – only more, because he is better. He will help you to be good; and you can go to Heaven at last, and be an angel forever, just as much as if you were white. Only think of it, Topsy! – you can be one of those spirits bright, Uncle Tom sings about." (25.48-50)
Through love, Eva converts Topsy to Christianity and transforms her nature. Observing the scene, St. Clare compares Eva to Jesus Christ – she is willing to touch and love the lowly and despised, the cast out, the ones the rest of society scorned. Eva doesn’t just tell Topsy about religious principles, she demonstrates them, actively giving love without expecting anything in return.