© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin


by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Uncle Tom Timeline and Summary

  • Tom enjoys an evening with his wife Chloe, George Shelby, and his children. Later, slaves gather in his cabin for a rousing church service.
  • Eliza tells Tom that he has been sold south. He has the chance to escape, but he can’t betray Mr. Shelby. He decides to stay and take whatever comes.
  • Tom leaves with Mr. Haley, shackled to the wagon. They end up on a boat headed downriver towards New Orleans.
  • Tom makes friends with Eva, then saves her from drowning when she falls overboard.
  • Mr. St. Clare buys Tom as a coachman, and as Eva’s personal slave.
  • Tom has landed pretty, no doubt about it. His new master is indulgent and kind, while Eva is a sweetheart and loves him with all her heart. He and Eva become friends and share their faith in God with each other.
  • Tom encourages St. Clare to be good to himself and stop drinking. He tries to convert him to Christianity.
  • Tom becomes Eva’s best friend as she becomes more and more ill. He carries her around the plantation to give her relief from her sufferings.
  • When Eva dies, St. Clare promises Tom his freedom. Tom begins to dream about saving money to buy Chloe and his kids and living as a free man.
  • Unfortunately, St. Clare dies that very night in a knife fight, and Tom is sold to Simon Legree.
  • On the Legree plantation, Tom becomes the object of Legree’s hatred. His refusal to give up his religion, combined with his continual kindness towards the other slaves, makes him dangerous.
  • Tom refuses to whip another slave when Legree commands him to do it. Legree and his primary hands give him a vicious beating in return.
  • Tom refuses to kill Legree when he has the chance. He offers to help Cassy escape if she wants to do so. He has decided, however, that it is his job to stay on the plantation and help the other slaves.
  • When Legree seeks answers about Cassy and Emmeline’s whereabouts, Tom refuses to betray them. Legree beats him so badly that Tom dies.
  • But before he dies, Tom helps the two primary hands, Sambo and Quimbo, become Christians.
  • He also waits around until George Shelby arrives. Then he’s able to send his love to Aunt Chloe.
  • Tom dies and is buried, just off the plantation, in the shade of a big tree.