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Quotes

Quote #7

"You would think no harm in a child's caressing a large dog, even if he was black; but a creature that can think, and reason, and feel, and is immortal, you shudder at; confess it, cousin. I know the feeling among some of you northerners well enough. Not that there is a particle of virtue in our not having it; but custom with us does what Christianity ought to do, – obliterates the feeling of personal prejudice. I have often noticed, in my travels north, how much stronger this was with you than with us. You loathe them as you would a snake or a toad, yet you are indignant at their wrongs. You would not have them abused; but you don't want to have anything to do with them yourselves. You would send them to Africa, out of your sight and smell, and then send a missionary or two to do up all the self-denial of elevating them compendiously. Isn't that it?"

"Well, cousin," said Miss Ophelia, thoughtfully, "there may be some truth in this."

"What would the poor and lowly do, without children?" said St. Clare, leaning on the railing, and watching Eva, as she tripped off, leading Tom with her. "Your little child is your only true democrat." (16.98-100)

At last, Miss Ophelia is made to recognize her prejudice, while St. Clare explains that children are the only truly just and merciful people in the world. Like Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, St. Clare suggests that a social system governed by children would prevent a great deal of injustice.

Quote #8

"I've always had a prejudice against negroes," said Miss Ophelia, "and it's a fact, I never could bear to have that child touch me; but, I didn't think she knew it."

"Trust any child to find that out," said St. Clare; "there's no keeping it from them. But I believe that all the trying in the world to benefit a child, and all the substantial favors you can do them, will never excite one emotion of gratitude, while that feeling of repugnance remains in the heart; – it's a queer kind of a fact, – but so it is."

"I don't know how I can help it," said Miss Ophelia; "they are disagreeable to me, – this child in particular, – how can I help feeling so?"

"Eva does, it seems."

"Well, she's so loving! After all, though, she's no more than Christ-like," said Miss Ophelia; "I wish I were like her. She might teach me a lesson."

"It wouldn't be the first time a little child had been used to instruct an old disciple, if it were so," said St. Clare. (25.53-58)

Miss Ophelia resolves to be more loving to Topsy and to conquer her repugnance of blacks due to Eva’s Christ-like, democratic example. The novel suggests that it’s not enough for Ophelia to believe that blacks are human and to treat Topsy with fairness and discipline. She must also learn to change her inward biases and truly love the little black girl without fearing her blackness and racial difference.

Quote #9

"The Anglo Saxon is the dominant race of the world, and is to be so."

"Well, there is a pretty fair infusion of Anglo Saxon blood among our slaves, now," said Augustine. "There are plenty among them who have only enough of the African to give a sort of tropical warmth and fervor to our calculating firmness and foresight. If ever the San Domingo hour comes, Anglo Saxon blood will lead on the day. Sons of white fathers, with all our haughty feelings burning in their veins, will not always be bought and sold and traded. They will rise, and raise with them their mother's race." (23.62-63)

Although twin brothers Alfred and Augustine St. Clare both seem to believe in white supremacy, Augustine reminds us of an important fact: many of the slaves are of mixed-race descent, part white, part black. Thus, there are more than two races in the novel, and racial categorization can quickly become complicated or impossible. Whites and blacks are literally interrelated in 19th century America, and they can’t be completely separated.

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