Slavery In Uncle Tom's Cabin

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Tom was portrayed as a African American slave with tragic life and destination in the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. As a slave he had been the slave of three people with distinctive different characteristics who were Mr. Shelby, Mr. St. Clare and Mr. Legree.

Uncle Tom’s first master was Mr. Shelby. He was portrayed as a kind gentlemen with benevolence towards his slaves, who was also got cornered by high dept. “Notes to a large amount had come into the hands of Haley.(Stowe p10)” It was seemed that he was not willing to sell his slaves including Uncle Tom, who was one of his best workers. However, because of the stress from the dept and Haley, he had to sell some slaves including Uncle Tom. He still told Haley that he would rather not sell Uncle Tom because he treated Uncle Tom as his brother. Mr. Shelby was relatively kind to his slaves but did not care much about them. He was not a abolitionist. What he wanted to protect was not his slaves but his own reputation. Mr. Shelby represented those people, at that time when the book was published, who were just like grass on the top of a wall which swayed with every wind, or the so called fence-sitters towards the question that whether slavery should be kept or banned. The relatively tragic destination of Mr. Shelby indicated that the slavery should be prohibited beyond all doubt.

Mr. Shelby
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Legree. At the very beginning of the meeting between Mr. Legree and Uncle Tom in the slave trading market, the author wrote that: “Legree assisted him with no gentle hand, from his neck, and putting it in his pocket (Stowe p312).” Without describing his appearance, a horrible and cruel character had been shown to the readers. Once a character like Mr. Legree appeared, as a strong contrast to the other two masters, we can reasonably infer that the tragic ending would finally fall upon Uncle Tom. Even when Tom was badly injured by Mr. Legree, Mr. Legree still insisted that Tom could work (Stowe
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