| Quote #7
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. . . . (29.18)
At a critical moment, Ophelia sympathizes with Rosa’s fear of physical exposure, torture, and harassment instead of Marie St. Clare’s position as slave-mistress. Stowe suggests that Ophelia’s "honest blood of womanhood" won’t allow her to feel any differently. Of course, the cold, pale Marie doesn’t have any "honest blood" in her body.
| Quote #8
"And, Emmeline, if we shouldn't ever see each other again, after tomorrow, – if I'm sold way up on a plantation somewhere, and you somewhere else, – always remember how you've been brought up, and all Missis has told you; take your Bible with you, and your hymn-book; and if you're faithful to the Lord, he'll be faithful to you."
A slave mother tries to protect her daughter as best she can through love and religious instruction, but she is largely powerless. Here we see the evils of slavery at their worst – slavery tears mother and child apart and subjects young women to sexual violence. Stowe calls once more for the sympathy of her northern women readers.
| Quote #9
Hard and reprobate as the godless man seemed now, there had been a time when he had been rocked on the bosom of a mother, – cradled with prayers and pious hymns, – his now seared brow bedewed with the waters of holy baptism. In early childhood, a fair-haired woman had led him, at the sound of Sabbath bell, to worship and to pray. Far in New England that mother had trained her only son, with long, unwearied love, and patient prayers. Born of a hard-tempered sire, on whom that gentle woman had wasted a world of unvalued love, Legree had followed in the steps of his father. Boisterous, unruly, and tyrannical, he despised all her counsel, and would none of her reproof; and, at an early age, broke from her, to seek his fortunes at sea. He never came home but once, after; and then, his mother, with the yearning of a heart that must love something, and has nothing else to love, clung to him, and sought, with passionate prayers and entreaties, to win him from a life of sin, to his soul's eternal good.
Stowe makes Simon Legree a completely evil character – even his mother’s selfless, heavenly, unwavering love can’t redeem him. In the world of this novel, where the moral force of women is depicted as one of the strongest powers in society, such a thing is practically unthinkable. And yet the love of Legree’s mother still has power. As we’ll learn later in this chapter, Legree is superstitious and terrified of anything that reminds him of his mom, especially locks of fair hair. He and St. Clare should be in some kind of "I’m obsessed with my mom" support group.