| Quote #1
"I would rather not sell him," said Mr. Shelby, thoughtfully; "the fact is, sir, I'm a humane man, and I hate to take the boy from his mother, sir."
Mr. Haley expresses a common 19th century racist belief that blacks don’t feel the way whites do about things like family and freedom. According to this bigoted line of thinking, blacks feel differently and less intensely than whites. In this case, Stowe disagrees with the prevailing social opinion that your race affects your ability to feel. The division of any family, black or white, will always cause deep suffering.
| Quote #2
"My dear," said Mrs. Shelby, recollecting herself, "forgive me. I have been hasty. I was surprised, and entirely unprepared for this; – but surely you will allow me to intercede for these poor creatures. Tom is a noble-hearted, faithful fellow, if he is black. I do believe, Mr. Shelby, that if he were put to it, he would lay down his life for you." (5.22)
Though she may be against slavery, even Mrs. Shelby thinks black people are inherently different – more childlike, perhaps – than whites. "Tom is a noble-hearted, faithful fellow, if he is black" is a good line to use to sum up race in this novel. While there are virtuous blacks here, the novel always implies that it’s a little bit surprising that they’re both black and virtuous. Mrs. Shelby’s defense of Tom makes us cheer, but her racism makes us cringe.
| Quote #3
"The most dreadful part of slavery, to my mind, is its outrages on the feelings and affections, – the separating of families, for example."
Two ladies express vastly different views as to whether blacks are "human" or not – or whether they are "human" in the same way whites are. The "other woman," who believes blacks are better off as slaves, justifies slavery in the same way that Haley does: by claiming that the feelings of blacks aren’t comparable to those of whites. Stowe will continually try to undermine this assumption by establishing sympathetic bonds between mothers of all races, such as Eliza and Mrs. Bird.