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Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin


by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Analysis: Steaminess Rating

Exactly how steamy is this story?


The closest Uncle Tom’s Cabin comes to mentioning sex is in reference to the beautiful women who are used as sexual slaves and forced into prostitution by their masters. These references come mostly toward the end of the book, when we hear Cassy’s story. Cassy’s first master was also the father of two of her children. He lived with her as though they were husband and wife, but refused to marry her. When he fell in love with a white woman, he sold her and their children away, and Cassy entered a series of forced sexual relationships with other masters.

Cassy was so depressed and saddened by the loss of her children and the horrors of her life that she grew bitter and lost her faith in God. Clearly, there is a lot of sexual violence going on within the institution of slavery, but the fastidious Stowe keeps it mostly offstage in this sentimental novel. Cassy and George Harris’s older sister were both clearly raped because of their beauty. Fifteen-year-old Emmeline, bought by Simon Legree for the same purpose, is fortunate that Cassy protects her, or she too would be subjected to rape. In general, Stowe is honest enough to hint at sexual violence against women, but too fastidious to let it happen "on stage."

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