| Quote #19
"I hate him!" said Legree, that night, as he sat up in his bed; "I hate him! And isn't he MINE? Can't I do what I like with him? Who's to hinder, I wonder?" And Legree clenched his fist, and shook it, as if he had something in his hands that he could rend in pieces. (40.6)
Simon Legree’s malicious hatred of Tom is utterly evil – and utterly unrestrained. No law, no person, no religion will stand in his way if he wants to vent his psychopathic fury on an innocent man. This is the moment at which Stowe wants every 19th century reader to realize the full horror of slavery.
| Quote #20
To the surprise of all, he [George Shelby] appeared among them with a bundle of papers in his hand, containing a certificate of freedom to every one on the place, which he read successively, and presented, amid the sobs and tears and shouts of all present.
George Shelby signs papers declaring his slaves free and resolves to teach them how to be responsible men and women. As contemporary readers, we wince at his paternalism – he’s still treating his slaves like dependent children. Yet, his desire to help educate and rehabilitate them, rather than simply throwing them out into the world, is laudable.