Eliza's Flight Speech Analysis

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The Journey towards Freedom During the Civil War, abolitionists’ most fervent supporters were Northerners. Abolitionists recruited supporters through different forms of media, such as images, sketches, and slave narratives, which played on pathos. Eliza’s Flight: A Scene from Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a cover of sheet music, both depicts the slaves’ daily struggles and encouraged its contemporary audience to continue fighting for freedom and equal rights for blacks. Eliza’s Flight: A Scene from Uncle Tom’s Cabin dramatizes the plight of slaves through its depiction of the heroic Eliza risking her life in order to escape slavery. Eliza appears at the very center of the sketch, clutching her infant as she leaps from ice block to ice block, traveling across the Ohio River. According to historian Adam Rothman, after the Northern states abolished slavery, “the Ohio River came to mark a symbolic border between freedom and slavery” (Rothman 23). Therefore, this illustration symbolizes slaves progressing from the degradation of slavery to freedom and equality with whites. The ice blocks Eliza steps across are reminiscent of images of dead Union soldiers on battlefields, suggesting that the gradual progression from a society rooted in slavery to a more equal society would not have been possible without the sacrifices of Union soldiers.…show more content…
Another way the sketch induces sympathy in the audience is by highlighting the sacrifices Eliza is making for her son. In Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Eliza states that she “lost two [children], one after another . . . and [she] had only this one left [so she] never slept a night without him; he was all [she] had” (Stowe 179). Even more important than her journey into freedom was her son coming with her so that she could ensure he had a better future filled with equality and opportunity. This is a very positive sketch, capturing the event in time in which slaves and freedmen are taking bold risks to equalize the playing field between whites and
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