Uncle Tom's Cabin
How we cite our quotes:
But stronger than all was maternal love, wrought into a paroxysm of frenzy by the near approach of a fearful danger. Her boy was old enough to have walked by her side, and, in an indifferent case, she would only have led him by the hand; but now the bare thought of putting him out of her arms made her shudder, and she strained him to her bosom with a convulsive grasp, as she went rapidly forward. (7.1)
Stronger than fear is a mother’s love; it will make a mother do anything. In this case, motherly love urges Eliza on and on to keep her son safe. "Stronger than all was maternal love" could be the motto of this novel – it’s a principle that prepares us for the power of St. Clare’s mother and Legree’s mother, to name just two.
"Your heart is better than your head, in this case, John," said the wife, laying her little white hand on his. "Could I ever have loved you, had I not known you better than you know yourself?" And the little woman looked so handsome, with the tears sparkling in her eyes, that the senator thought he must be a decidedly clever fellow, to get such a pretty creature into such a passionate admiration of him; and so, what could he do but walk off soberly, to see about the carriage. (9.103)
Mrs. Bird’s wifely love for her husband inspires him to be a better person and rise above his Fugitive Slave Act politicking to help Eliza and her son. This is truly the "power behind the throne," the influence of a strong woman in the private sphere over her husband’s actions in the public one. The way wives love their husbands is part of Stowe’s plan for reforming society.
Chloe! Now, if ye love me, ye won't talk so, when perhaps jest the last time we'll ever have together! And I'll tell ye, Chloe, it goes agin me to hear one word agin Mas'r. Wan't he put in my arms a baby? – it's nature I should think a heap of him. And he couldn't be spected to think so much of poor Tom. Mas'rs is used to havin' all these yer things done for 'em, and nat'lly they don't think so much on 't. They can't be spected to, no way. Set him 'longside of other Mas'rs – who's had the treatment and livin' I've had? And he never would have let this yer come on me, if he could have seed it aforehand. I know he wouldn't." (10.13)
Strangely, Tom seems to value his love for his master almost more than he values his wife’s love. Chloe is probably the only wife in the novel whose powerful love doesn’t strongly affect her husband. Perhaps that’s because Tom’s love is complete and pure on its own.