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Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Slavery

Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin specifically in order to illustrate the evil and inhumanity of slavery to her mid-19th century American readers, for whom slavery was a current a...

Race

It’s hard to imagine a more complex topic than the theme of race in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. On the one hand, Stowe wrote this novel in order to demonstrate the moral imperative of abolition....

Religion

Harriet Beecher Stowe was a deeply committed Christian who believed that religious faith would be a major factor in the abolition of slavery – which, of course, it was. Her most famous novel,...

Women and Femininity

Uncle Tom’s Cabin demonstrates that one of the major problems with slavery is that it wreaks havoc on the family structure, separating wives from their husbands and mothers from their childre...

Love

In Uncle Tom’s Cabin, love isn’t all you need, but it’s pretty close. Little blonde angel Eva loves everybody, even her horrible mother Marie. Pious slave Tom finds love in his he...

Suffering

In order to convince her readers that slavery is morally wrong, Stowe must depict all the different ways in which slaves suffer. Uncle Tom’s Cabin describes the obvious forms of physical suff...

Violence

Uncle Tom’s Cabin has an intriguing relationship to the theme of violence. There is a lot of violence in this novel; as it shows, slavery was frequently a brutal institution, in which slaves...

Contrasting Regions

Uncle Tom’s Cabin plays with the complicated opposition between the North and South in 19th century America. Today’s readers assume that the North represents freedom, democracy, and rig...
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