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Quotes

Quote #1

"What are you going to do? O, George, don't do anything wicked; if you only trust in God, and try to do right, he'll deliver you."

"I an't a Christian like you, Eliza; my heart's full of bitterness; I can't trust in God. Why does he let things be so?"

"O, George, we must have faith. Mistress says that when all things go wrong to us, we must believe that God is doing the very best."

"That's easy to say for people that are sitting on their sofas and riding in their carriages; but let 'em be where I am, I guess it would come some harder. I wish I could be good; but my heart burns, and can't be reconciled, anyhow. You couldn't in my place, – you can't now, if I tell you all I've got to say. You don't know the whole yet." (3.27-30)

Eliza puts her trust in God, but George notes that God seems to be on the side of those who have it easy, not on the side of the downtrodden. Although Stowe’s devoutly religious readers would have been alarmed by George’s doubt, they might have recognized that the evils of slavery interfere with the good work that faith can do for individuals.

Quote #2

Various exhortations, or relations of experience, followed, and intermingled with the singing. One old gray-headed woman, long past work, but much revered as a sort of chronicle of the past, rose, and leaning on her staff, said –

"Well, chil'en! Well, I'm mighty glad to hear ye all and see ye all once more, 'cause I don't know when I'll be gone to glory; but I've done got ready, chil'en; 'pears like I'd got my little bundle all tied up, and my bonnet on, jest a waitin' for the stage to come along and take me home; sometimes, in the night, I think I hear the wheels a rattlin', and I'm lookin' out all the time; now, you jest be ready too, for I tell ye all, chil'en," she said striking her staff hard on the floor, "dat ar glory is a mighty thing! It's a mighty thing, chil'en, – you don'no nothing about it, – it's wonderful." And the old creature sat down, with streaming tears, as wholly overcome… (4.76.-77)

The reader, witnessing the humble church service in Uncle Tom’s cabin, understands that slaves put their hope in the next world, since this one holds so little of pleasure, rest, or justice for them. The piety and devotion of the slaves’ worship contrasts with the decadence and idleness of their white masters in the "big house."

Quote #3

"Abolitionist! if they knew all I know about slavery, they might talk! We don't need them to tell us; you know I never thought that slavery was right – never felt willing to own slaves."

"Well, therein you differ from many wise and pious men," said Mr. Shelby. "You remember Mr. B.'s sermon, the other Sunday?"

"I don't want to hear such sermons; I never wish to hear Mr. B. in our church again. Ministers can't help the evil, perhaps, – can't cure it, any more than we can, – but defend it! – it always went against my common sense. And I think you didn't think much of that sermon, either." (5.29-31)

Mrs. Shelby knows that ministers who use religious technicalities and sophistical arguments to defend slavery are hypocrites. She doesn’t even care what their arguments are – slavery is so obviously cruel, inhumane, and immoral that it must be against her principles of Christian love.

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