Violence In Uncle Tom's Cabin Essay

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Many great works of literature contain moments of violence, and, like all else that a writer puts on the page, they have a purpose. Violent scenes impact their reader in a variety of ways, and it is this reaction that allows the author to guide their reader through the work. In some cases, authors use violence to shock the reader, to motivate the reader to make change, or to immortalize people’s stories, and these goals are exactly what Harriet Beecher Stowe set out to accomplish with her groundbreaking novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Upon its completion in 1852, this novel became the impetus for the Civil War. The United States had been teetering on the brink of violence for nearly a century, and Stowe’s work was enough to motivate both North and…show more content…
John C. Calhoun once referred to slavery as a “positive good,” and, as awful as it may seem now, the moniker stuck. Southern citizens truly believed that the slaves benefited because they bore witness to a “civilized” way of life, and the plantation owners profited from a cheap and efficient means of production. Thus, Stowe realized that she must not only prove that African Americans are equal, she must also show that slavery is not, in fact, a positive good. According to the Ohio History Central article “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” “...Stowe realized that most Northerners had never witnessed slavery firsthand. Most Northern whites had no idea of how brutal slavery could be.” Stowe herself was an abolitionist as a young adult, but it took her a significant portion of her life to finally put to paper this novel in what was, arguably, her biggest abolitionist act. Her move from Connecticut to Cincinnati, Ohio, where she heard first hand accounts of the poor treatment in the South, was what finally motivated her to bring these atrocities to light. Annette Gordon-Reed explained in her article “The Persuader” that, “she made the reality of slavery palpable to the American public.”
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