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Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin


by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Analysis: Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Christopher Booker is a scholar who wrote that every story falls into one of seven basic plot structures: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, the Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth. Shmoop explores which of these structures fits this story like Cinderella’s slipper.

Plot Type : Overcoming the Monster

Uncle Tom’s Cabin doesn’t really fit any of Booker’s Seven Basic Plots. The closest it comes to is "Overcoming the Monster." The "Monster" is slavery. The problem with fitting Uncle Tom’s Cabin into this plot, however, is that the monster is never overcome. In fact, the protagonist, Tom, succumbs and is killed by his wicked master. However, the novel gestures beyond its pages to say that, while the Monster is not overcome in the story, it can still be fought in the real world.

If we argue that this novel does work as an "Overcoming the Monster" plot, the twist is that the person who actually receives the "call" to overcome the monster is not a character in the novel – it is the reader himself.. In fact, the writer addresses the reader directly in Chapter Forty-Five to call for continued resistance to the real world, continuing monsters of prejudice and slavery.

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