Study Guide

Tom Loker in Uncle Tom's Cabin

By Harriet Beecher Stowe

Tom Loker

We hear about the slave-catcher Tom Loker early in the novel from his friend Haley, who boasts about Tom Loker’s brutality toward his slaves. Hired by Haley to catch Eliza and Harry, Tom plots with a friend to return Harry to Haley and to sell Eliza as a sex slave.

He pursues the Harris family deep into the North and onto a Quaker settlement, where they engage in an armed standoff. Tom is badly wounded and abandoned by his companions. The Harrises and the Quakers take pity on him, and he’s nursed back to health by a Quaker family. Though he is not converted to Quakerism, he undergoes a radical character change and abandons his cruel ways. We’re struck by the duplication of first names; you couldn’t imagine two characters more different than Tom Loker and Uncle Tom.