Study Guide

Uncle Tom's Cabin Love

By Harriet Beecher Stowe


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 heart for his murderer, brutal slave master Simon Legree. Tom and Eva’s love is of a pure, Christian kind that extends to everyone around them – slave and free, black and white, nice and not-so-nice. This novel argues that selfless love is the essence of true religious faith, and that people who practice Christianity without it are just kidding themselves. The kind of love depicted here is admittedly super-sweet-saccharine stuff – but its power is undeniable.

Questions About Love

  1. What ideas do white characters express about love? What ideas do black characters express about love? In what ways are they different? In what ways are they the same?
  2. What is the most important kind of love, according to Uncle Tom’s Cabin?
  3. Is love separate from religion in this novel? If so, how? If not, why not?

Chew on This

Even though Stowe suggests that love is part of the solution for racism and slavery, she does not offer any practical ways for white folks to learn how to love people different than they are.