"....but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine."
I Timothy 4:12, 13

Saturday, March 20, 2010

"Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Harriet Beecher Stowe (Introduction)

I have started reading "Uncle Tom's Cabin" - finally!  The introduction was kind of boring and did not set my mood very well for the actual story.  Let me start off by saying that my book was published in 1885.  The original copyright date is 1851.    There was originally two titles for the book.  It is titled "Uncle Tom's Cabin or Life Among the Lowly."  I hear people say all the time that Mrs. Stowe was a northerner and did not know the truth.  That is not totally true.  She based several incidents on actual events from slaves and other people.  She knew a slave who's owner would let him travel with money and the slave would always return.  This slave was a christian.  She also let several slave children join her children's homeschool as she taught her children and her family's children.  She had lived for several years in "Ohio on the confines of a slave state, and had thus been made familiar with facts and occurrences in relation to the instution of American slavery.  Some of the most harrowing incidents related in the story had from time to time come to her knowledge in conversation with former slaves now free in Ohio."
She started writing the book as magazine articles in an anti-slavery paper.  "After many years' residence in Ohio, Mrs. Stowe returned to make her abode in New England."  "In New England, as at the west, professed abolitionists were a small, despised, unfashionable band, whose constant remonstrances from year to year had been disregarded as the voices of impracticable fanatics."  Mrs. Stowe was distressed when she heard people say that slavery was a "constitutional right, and that all opposition to it endangered the national Union."  She even saw christians close their hearts and eyes to slavery and even helped return slaves to their owners.  She decided people needed to know the truth about slavery; "and hence arose a purpose to write some sketches which would show to the world slavery as she had herself seen it."
"In shaping her material the author had but one purpose, to show the institution of slavery truly, just as it existed."  She wanted to show that slavery was because of a bad system, not bad people. 
"Uncle Tom's Cabin" was published March 20, 1852.  She says often in her introduction that she did not write the story, but it wrote itself.  She could feel the Lord guiding her as she wrote.  She prayed and cried through the entire book while she was writing.  She could not stop writing until everything was written down.  This is definitely a Christian novel.
The introduction was 49 pages long so I could not include it all.  I thought it would be interesting to know the background of the story before we started.
Happy reading!


Anonymous said...

I am currently reading the same book and just love it. It is exciting, heartbreaking and glorifying to the Lord all at the same time. I am half way done with the book so I'll have to give a final critique once I am finished this week.

Anonymous said...

This is a book that grabs you so emotionally that you want to throw it down, but don't do it. It quickly turns to a book that you can't put down. Two things strike me. First I see why the world hates this book. They hate it because it has the gospel, full and freely told over and over. It also includes in an intense moment a warning about the judgment seat of Christ. How could such a powerful gospel message be allowed unedited in the school systems? And secondly, I have heard over and over politicians or civil rights leaders say 'He is an Uncle Tom!'. I always wondered what that meant. What they mean by it is a perverted atheistic view of Uncle Tom, they mean a 'yes mas-ser' I will do whatever you say white man/woman because you say so. The truth is that Uncle Tom was a living Colosians 3:23-24 Christian. He did all unto the Lord serving him, looking toward his future reward, regardless if he had a wicked owner or a compassionate owner. He fully trusted the Lord with all the situations he was put in.
This book was excellent. It was a blessing to read. It was very educational on how Christians can be deceived into devious doctrines (slavery) closing their eyes to the obvious wrong doings on other human beings. My favorite small character (he was only in one chapter)is Senator Bird. Slavery looked good in the law and on paper, but when it confronted him in the face his heart soften and he stood up and broke the law that he helped pass putting himself in physical peril in the middle of the night to see a slave pursue freedom.
Over and over again, Satan is after certain races. Jews and Blacks. Why Blacks? I have no idea, but they have been for centuries an extremely oppressed race. They are treated even today in African nations as sub humans, with evil vaccine plots to kill off whole populations. In the U.S. nearly 1/2 off all black people are killed as fetus'. See Maafa 21, or www.blackgenocide.com.
Nevertheless, Mrs. Stowe wrote a beautiful story that worked in shattering slavery in our country 10 full years before the civil war.