Uncle Tom's Cabin
How we cite our quotes:
"St. Clare always laughs when I make the least allusion to my ill health," said Marie, with the voice of a suffering martyr. "I only hope the day won't come when he'll remember it!" and Marie put her handkerchief to her eyes.
Of course, there was rather a foolish silence. Finally, St. Clare got up, looked at his watch, and said he had an engagement down street. Eva tripped away after him, and Miss Ophelia and Marie remained at the table alone.
"Now, that's just like St. Clare!" said the latter, withdrawing her handkerchief with somewhat of a spirited flourish when the criminal to be affected by it was no longer in sight. "He never realizes, never can, never will, what I suffer, and have, for years. If I was one of the complaining sort, or ever made any fuss about my ailments, there would be some reason for it. Men do get tired, naturally, of a complaining wife. But I've kept things to myself, and borne, and borne, till St. Clare has got in the way of thinking I can bear anything." (16.34-36)
Marie St. Clare’s demonstrative hypochondria is a despicable form of self-manufactured "suffering." The reader is sickened by the way Marie suggests that her foolish whims are at all comparable to the agonies endured by her slaves.
Miss Ophelia well knew that it was the universal custom to send women and young girls to whipping-houses, to the hands of the lowest of men, – men vile enough to make this their profession, – there to be subjected to brutal exposure and shameful correction. She had known it before; but hitherto she had never realized it, till she saw the slender form of Rosa almost convulsed with distress. All the honest blood of womanhood, the strong New England blood of liberty, flushed to her cheeks, and throbbed bitterly in her indignant heart; but, with habitual prudence and self-control, she mastered herself, and, crushing the paper firmly in her hand, she merely said to Rosa,
"Sit down, child, while I go to your mistress."
"Shameful! monstrous! outrageous!" she said to herself, as she was crossing the parlor. (29.18-20)
Rosa’s mistress hasn’t just ordered her to be whipped – she’s ordered it to be done publicly, which means Rosa will appear topless in front of whichever local men feel like showing up. It’s both physical and emotional suffering, and it will harm her reputation.
"You will answer to God for such cruelty!" said Miss Ophelia, with energy.
"Cruelty, – I'd like to know what the cruelty is! I wrote orders for only fifteen lashes, and told him to put them on lightly. I'm sure there's no cruelty there!"
"No cruelty!" said Miss Ophelia. "I'm sure any girl might rather be killed outright!"
"It might seem so to anybody with your feeling; but all these creatures get used to it; it's the only way they can be kept in order. Once let them feel that they are to take any airs about delicacy, and all that, and they'll run all over you, just as my servants always have. I've begun now to bring them under; and I'll have them all to know that I'll send one out to be whipped, as soon as another, if they don't mind themselves!" said Marie, looking around her decidedly. (29.33-36)
Marie’s slaves suffer even more because she is incapable of sympathizing and insists, with racist pseudo-logic, that they are inhuman and can only be controlled through violence.