Uncle Tom's Cabin

Harriet Beecher Stowe

BACKGROUND

Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote this book in 1851. Originally, it was published in a newspaper – that’s why there are so many short chapters. Uncle Tom’s Cabin takes place back in the pre-Civil War South, when slavery was still legal. Stowe tries to get across the horrors black people experienced; cruelty, separation from family, beatings, and humiliation. Since the book was written a long time ago, the language and words might seem outdated. Tom, the main character, is important because he was the first black American written as a hero. Christianity is very important in this book.

 

MAIN CHARACTERS

Arthur Shelby: He owns the plantation where Tom is at the beginning of the book. As far as masters go, he’s as good as it gets. He’s nice to his slaves, but still, they are slaves.

Emily Shelby: Arthur’s wife. She’s Christian, so she tries to treat her slaves well, too. She begins to get it that being "good" and owning slaves at the same time doesn’t work.

George Shelby: Arthur and Emily’s son. He likes Tom and helps Tom learn to read and to write. He sets all his salves free at the end.

Mr. Haley: A slave-trader. He’s really mean and into slavery. He thinks he’s fair and decent but he’s a total ass.

Eliza: Emily Shelby’s slave. She’s really pretty. She’s married to George Harris and is Harry’s mom. Eliza loves her family a lot and tries to save them from being separated by escaping to freedom.

George Harris: Eliza’s husband. He’s a family man. He can’t take being a slave anymore, so he escapes.

Harry: Sometimes called Jim Crow. Eliza and Harry’s son. He’s a cute little kid who amuses everyone by singing and dancing.

Uncle Tom: The main guy in the book. Tom is a good man, very Christian, very forgiving. He knows slavery s wrong, but he doesn’t do much about it. This doesn’t mean he is a wimp or anything, it means he’s really Christian, which means he can suffer for his beliefs. People like Tom and go to him for help.

Aunt Chloe: Tom’s wife. She’s a happy lady and good wife.

Pete, Polly, Mose: Tom and Chloe’s kids.

Sam and Andy: Two slaves. They are supposed to help Haley find Eliza and Harry, but manage to avoid being too useful.

Tom Loker and Marks: Two guys who Shelby hires to find Eliza and Harry.

Lucy: A slave, bought by Haley, who ends up killing herself when Haley separates her from her son.

Augustine St. Clare: He’s the guy who buys Tom from Haley after Tom saves St. Clare’s daughter, Eva, from drowning.

Marie St. Clare: Mr. St. Clare’s wife. She is a spoiled woman in that I-used-to-be-pretty-but-now-I’m-not-kind-of-way. She always thinks she’s sick.

Eva St. Clare: The St. Clare’s kid. She owns Tom after he saves her life. She’s a good girl. She dies.

Ophelia St. Clare: Augustine’s cousin. She’s supposed to train Topsy which she bitches about a lot. Later

on in the book, she grows to love Topsy.

Alfred St. Clare: Augustine’s twin brother. He’s a real shit who likes his power over the slaves.

Henrique St. Clare: Alfred’s son. Also a prick.

Dodo: A slave who gets the crap beat out of him by Henrique.

Mammy: Mrs. St. Clare’s sort-of personal slave.

Old Dinah: The cook for the St. Clare’s.

Jane and Rosa: Mrs. St. Clare’s maids.

Scipio: A slave Alfred brings to Augustine for "taming." He is freed.

Adolph: The St. Clare’s doorman.

Prue: A black neighbor of the St. Clare family.

Senator Bird and Mary Bird: People who live in Ohio, where Eliza and Harry stop on their way to freedom. Mary’s good, Senator Bird’s okay, but is for the Fugitive Slave Act, which means he doesn’t think people should actively help slaves get to freedom.

Old Cudjoe and Old Aunt Dinah: They work for the Birds.

Mr. Symmes: A helper of Eliza’s when she’s escaping.

Mr. Van Trompe: A former slave-owner who set all his slaves free. He helps Eliza and Harry in Ohio.

Rachel and Simeon Halliday: Nice Quaker folks who help Eliza.

Phineas Fletcher: A Quaker guy who helps Eliza and Harry get to Canada.

Amariah, Michael, Stephen: Quakers who help the Harris family.

Grandmam Stephens: A Quaker who helps Loker after he’s shot.

Simon Legree: A mean plantation owner. He beats his slaves and drinks a ton.

Sambo and Quimbo: Two of Legree’s slaves who do whatever he says so the other slaves don’t like them.

Cassy: A slave. Legree is a little wary of her since she is strong. It turns out she’s Eliza’s mother.

Emmeline: A slave who escapes with Cassy.

Madame de Thoux: George Harris’s sister.

Topsy: A slave on the St. Clare’s plantation. She’s a wild kid who likes to sing and play and get into trouble.

 

Plot

The novel starts in the South, a couple of years before the Civil War (check out the Schoolbytes history section for more info). Arthur Shelby, a decent master, has a plantation in Kentucky but needs to get rid of some debt, so he has to sell some slaves. He meets with Haley, a bastard of a guy, who wants to buy Harry, Eliza and George’s son, and Uncle Tom, Shelby’s favorite. Shelby doesn’t want to sell, but he has to. Eliza learns that she’s going to be separated from Harry, so she grabs her son and runs to Uncle Tom’s cabin to see if Tom wants to escape with her (her husband, George, is already making his way to Canada). Uncle Tom wants to stay loyal to Shelby so he doesn’t go. Haley chases after Eliza but Eliza makes it to the Ohio river. It’s freezing and she and Harry almost get carried away by the force of the water, but they keep going. Mr. Symmes helps her from the water and brings her to the Birds. They are kind to Eliza and Harry even though Mr. Bird has recently signed the Fugitive Slave Act which makes helping runaway slaves illegal. The Birds hand Eliza and Harry off to the Quakers. They stay with the Hallidays. It turns out that George is there, too, so the Harris family is reunited.

Haley’s a turd, but a persistent one. He hires slave hunters (Loker and Marks) to find Harry but Eliza, Harry, and George get on a ship and head to Canada. Haley goes back to the Shelby’s and gets Tom. He wants to see how much he can get for Tom in New Orleans. Everyone’s bummed that Tom is leaving. Tom’s wife and kids don’t want to be separated. Tom gets onto the boat to New Orleans and tries to read his Bible. Eva St. Clare is on the boat – she’s a sweet little kid, the vision of white purity with golden curls. When Tom makes toys for her, she gives him some food. They become friends. When Eva falls overboard, Tom jumps in the water and saves her. Eva tells her dad to buy Tom. He does.

At the St. Clare’s plantation, Tom has an okay life. He and Eva stay friends. Topsy, a slave child, spends time with them. Eva helps Topsy learn that she is a valuable person. Ophelia St. Clare is put in charge of teaching Topsy. Eva is a good girl but she gets sick. She has a big death scene where she gives her golden hair to the slaves. She says she wants to see the slaves in heaven and makes her dad promise to let Tom go free. With Eva gone, Mr. St. Clare is a mess. He wants to let Tom go, but he gets killed before he makes those arrangements. Mrs. St. Clare has to sell a bunch of slaves since she’s in debt.

Tom is bought by Simon Legree, a total ass. At Legree’s plantation, a big but crappy place, Tom is treated horribly. Legree is a big lush and beats his slaves. Tom doesn’t take help from Cassy, another slave, but suffers quietly on his own. He believes that this is his fate. This pisses Legree off more so he is even worse. Cassy and another slave, Emmeline, make plans to escape. Meanwhile, George Shelby finds where Tom is and tries to buy him back from Legree, who laughs at him. Legree has beaten Tom so badly, Tom is about to die.

George stays with Tom until he’s dead and buries him and then helps Cassy and Emmeline. On the way north, Madame de Thoux is found out to be George Harris’s sister. It turns out that Cassy is Eliza’s mom! In Kentucky, George Shelby goes back to his plantation and frees all the slaves. Cassy, Emmeline, and Madame de Thoux all go to Canada and reunite with their families. They go to France and then come back after four years. George wants to find his people and be where he belongs so ho takes his family to Africa to work. At the end of the book, Harriet Beecher Stowe writes about her visions of the wrongs of slavery, and how it’s impossible to be a Christian and yet make other people slaves. She thinks Christianity is the answer, but that people need to be humane Christians. She wants the people of the North to help to end slavery in the South.

 

CHAPTER BY CHAPTER

CHAPTER 1

  • Shelby’s a good man, despite being a slave-owner. He’s in debt so he has to sell some slaves.
  • Haley, a real jerk, has a meting with Shelby. Haley agrees to buy Tom, Shelby’s favorite slave.
  • During the meeting Harry sings a song. He’s cute. Eliza comes to find Harry. Haley likes Harry’s singing and Eliza’s beauty. He says he won’t buy Tom unless he can get the other two also.
  • Shelby thinks about the deal. He decides he has no choice but to sell Tom, Harry, and Eliza.
  • Eliza overhears the deal and cries to Mrs. Shelby, who tries to reassure her. Eliza really doesn’t want to be sold or separated from her family.

CHAPTERS 2 - 3

  • Eliza is a "quadroon" (1/4 black) who has been brought up by Mrs. Shelby. She and George Harris got married in the Shelby’s home which was a big sign of acceptance.
  • Eliza is a good mom to Harry. She loves him very much.
  • George Harris is a "mulatto" (1/2 black) who is owned by the Shelby’s neighbor who gets pissed when George, who works at his factory, shows everyone he’s smart by inventing a machine that cleans hemp. His owner is so pissed that he sends George out back to do the shit work.
  • George gets fed up with slavery and being treated so poorly. George is smarter than his master but it doesn’t matter. He has no freedom. He tells Eliza he wants to escape to Canada. It turns out his master wants him to stop seeing Eliza and marry someone else (with both Eliza and George being slaves, their marriage doesn’t count).
  • Eliza cries. She’s scared for her husband and worried about Harry.

CHAPTERS 4 - 6

  • Uncle Tom and his wife, Chloe, have a little cabin near the master’s house. Chloe cooks good food for Tom and their children.
  • Tom is a big dude, a mellow dude, and a religious dude.
  • George Shelby visits with Tom and teaches him to write.
  • After dinner, George reads the Bible. All of Tom’s friends come and pray and listen. Tom is the prayer leader guy on the plantation.
  • Meanwhile, Shelby and Haley sign the deal. Haley gets Tom and Harry. Shelby gets Haley to promise only to sell Tom to a good master.
  • When Shelby tells his wife about the deal, she’s upset. Since Shelby has promised Tom his freedom, Mrs. Shelby is even more upset. She basically thinks slavery is wrong and that Christianity is most important, so when Shelby tries to comfort her by saying he didn’t sell Eliza, Mrs. Shelby doesn’t care.
  • Eliza, who has overheard the conversation, leaves a note for Mrs. Shelby saying she has to run away with Harry.
  • Eliza and Harry stop at Uncle Tom’s cabin and tell him he’s been sold. They ask him to come but he says he has to be loyal to Shelby so he stays. Tom cries in his cabin.
  • Mrs. Shelby is glad when she finds that Eliza has run away but Shelby thinks people will think he’s a wimp. Also, Haley is even more of a bastard than usual, and demands some horses and stuff to help him find the runaways.
  • Shelby assigns Sam and Andy, two slaves, to help Haley. They make a horse run off and spend a long time finding it so they don’t really aid Haley. This way, they allow Eliza and Harry to get ahead of Haley.
  • Mrs. Shelby is aware of what Sam and Andy are up to with the horse but she is happy – she laughs at Haley as she watches them all out the window.

CHAPTERS 7 - 10

  • After leaving Uncle Tom’s cabin, Eliza and Harry run through the night. The author writes about how dangerous their struggle is and how any good mother would do the same thing to avoid being separated from her child. Eliza has to cross the Ohio river to get away from Kentucky.
  • Since there’s no ferry and the water’s freezing, Eliza and Harry stay with a nice lady for the night.
  • At the same time, Haley, who failed to catch up with Eliza, has dinner with the Shelbys. All the slaves want to create more problems for Haley and are angry about the deal Shelby made. Tom tries to get everyone to pray. Tom wonders what Shelby will do without him.
  • Haley goes off to get Eliza but hurts Tom by questioning his loyalty. Mr. Shelby says how Tom has never broken a promise or let him down.
  • Even though people try to distract him, Haley goes off. He sees Eliza.
  • Eliza has no choice but attempt to cross the river by jumping from one piece of ice to the next.
  • Eliza’s feet get cut on the ice. Ouch!
  • On the other side of the river, Mr. Symmes lends a hand.
  • Haley is pissed.
  • Sam and Andy go back to the plantation and tell everyone what happened.
  • Haley goes into town and hires Loker and Marks to use their dogs to find Eliza.
  • In Ohio, The Birds talk about a new law that would make it illegal to help runaway slaves. Mrs. Bird isn’t into current affairs or anything but she thinks it’s a shitty law. She thinks it’s un-Christian and not fair and says she would break it anyway. Senator Bird voted for the law but waivers when he hears certain passages from the Bible which talk about helping others.
  • Wouldn’t you know it – just when the Birds are talking about this stuff, Eliza and Harry show up at the door and ask for help.
  • Mrs. Bird tells everyone to help Eliza and Harry. After she recovers from passing out, Eliza tells her story. Mrs. Bird totally understands what Eliza feels since she just lost a child.
  • The Birds know Haley will come for Eliza so they send Eliza and Harry to Mr. Van Trompe. Mr. Bird gives Van Trompe some money to give to Eliza.
  • Uncle Tom leaves the Shelby’s plantation with Haley. Everyone is upset. Chloe does not cry.
  • Mrs. Shelby says she’ll try to save up enough money to buy Tom back.
  • When he bumps into Haley and Tom, George Shelby is surprised to see Tom in chains. George swears he’ll get him back.
  • Tom tells Haley he won’t run off.

CHAPTERS 11-28

  • George Harris passes himself off as a Spanish guy – since he’s got light skin and dark hair, all he does is dye his hair and touch up his face.
  • George Harris travels with a dude named Jim Wilson, a black guy who is fooled by the disguise. But when George tells him what his deal is, Wlison is freaked out by the possibility of being caught, thinks George should go back to his master.
  • Wilson is pretty much clueless, so George tells him the ways of the land, how the blacks have no rights, and how families get torn apart. Wilson quotes the Bible but eventually agrees George should escape. Wilson gives George money for the journey and warns him not to use any weapons.
  • Haley goes on a slave-buying binge. He cruelly pulls a son away from his mother.
  • Along with Uncle Tom, Haley brings the other slaves to the Mississippi River where they get ready to go on a ship to New Orleans.
  • On the water, passengers discuss the pros and cons of slavery.
  • Haley gets off when the ship stops and buys more slaves. He brings Lucy and her baby on board. Later, Haley sells the baby and Lucy is very upset so she kills herself by jumping into the river.
  • Eliza and Harry are safe amongst the Quakers. The Hallidays are kind and giving.
  • It seems that George might also be in the Quaker settlement.
  • Yes, it turns out that George is with the Quakers! They all are reunited and psyched to head to Canada.
  • On the ship to New Orleans, people are impressed with Tom’s kindness and loyalty. Even Haley trusts him enough to take off the shackles. Tom tries to read the Bible a lot. Reading is difficult for him so he marks his favorite passages.
  • When Tom meets Eva St. Clare, a rich dude’s kid, the two become friends and Eva gives Tom extra food. Tom carves little toys for Eva from fruit pits and nutshells.
  • Eva is like a vision of white beauty and kindness. She’s all curly blonde ringlets and white dresses.
  • Eva slips overboard and Tom rescues her. Eva’s dad, Mr. St. Clare, is so glad Eva’s okay that he buys Tom from Haley.
  • Mr. St. Clare is a rich, thoughtful guy. Unfortunately, he didn’t get to marry the woman he loved because his family didn’t approve. Instead, he married a bitchy self-centered beautiful southern woman (Marie St. Clare) who always thinks she’s sick.
  • Eva and Ophelia take care of Mrs. St. Clare.
  • At the St. Clare’s, tom is made head coachman.
  • Even though Mrs. St. Clare isn’t too psyched, Eva and Tom stay friends.
  • Eva gets her dad to make Tom her personal servant.
  • Mrs. St. Clare thinks slavery comes from the writings in the Bible while Mr. St. Clare thinks slavery is more a financial institution based around cotton. Eva says slavery gives her more people to love.

CHAPTER 17

  • Eliza and George are getting ready to go to Canada. Phineas Fletcher, one of the Quakers, says he’ll help them since he knows a good route. George would rather go it alone, but Phineas convinces him.
  • George also brings his very old mother, who was really abused by her master, and Jim Selden, the driver. Since Marks and Loker are after them, Phineas drives a covered wagon with everyone riding in the back.
  • That night, Marks and Loker’s group gets so close to George’s that they have to get out of the covered wagon and hide out behind some rocks away from the road.
  • Loker and Marks find George and his group. George shoots Loker. All of Loker’s dudes leave him to bleed. But the George and his group take Loker to the Quakers to get help.

CHAPTERS 18 – 19

  • At the St. Clare’s, Augustine isn’t careful with his money and throws a lot of parties. He’s also good to his servants, though, and a good dad.
  • Tom thinks St. Clare should look after himself better. After hitting the bottle one night and feeling like crap in the morning, St. Clare agrees. He tells Tom he’ll be more responsible.
  • Since Adolph sucks at finances, Tom takes over some of the family money issues.
  • Just like he was at the Shelby plantation, Tom is the spiritual leader at the St. Clare’s. People listen to him and come to him for advice.
  • Ophelia has a rough time dealing with the pace of the south, being from the north. She keeps trying to make things organized only to find that it doesn’t work.
  • When St. Clare talks to Ophelia, he admits that he was never comfortable with the whole plantation system, unlike his brother, Alfred, who was okay with it. That’s why St. Clare’s place is the way it is, full of servants who have had decent lives. St. Clare can see the institution of slavery ending.
  • During a dinner conversation, Eva learns that Prue, the next door neighbor who is black, has started to drink a lot since her child died as the result of the master’s non-attention. Eva is very upset by all of this and tells her dad how much it affects her.
  • Tom tries his best to write a letter to Chloe to let her know everything is okay. St. Clare helps him and then they send the letter.

CHAPTERS 20 – 26

  • To help Ophelia deal with her northern frustration, St. Clare gets her Topsy, a child in need of education and training.
  • Tospy is full of life but wild and wacky. She hasn’t known a lot of love so she acts out.
  • Ophelia is psyched about having a project and wants to help Topsy. She also wants Topsy to be a Christian.
  • Eva and Topsy become friends. Slowly, Ophelia gets to Topsy and Topsy wins Ophelia’s affections.
  • Tom’s letter arrives at the Shelby’s. Mrs. Shelby wants her husband to keep his promise and try and get Tom back but since all she hears about is the debt they have, Mrs. Shelby decides to take matters into her own hands and hires Chloe out to a bakery so Chloe can make some money and bring Tom back.
  • Two years go by.
  • Tom and Eva are really tight.
  • Tom gets a letter from George Shelby that tells him what Chloe’s doing to get him back. Tom is happy.
  • Tom and Eva spend a lot of time talking about the Bible.
  • Eva says to Tom that she will go to heaven soon.
  • Tom notices Eva looks sick. She’s thin and has a fever and a cough.
  • Even though she’s sick, Eva talks about how bad slavery is. She also helps her mother learn to read, which she hasn’t done before.
  • Mr. St. Clare can’t deal with Eva being sick so he pushes it out of his mind.
  • Alfred St. Clare comes to visit with Henrique, his son. They are jerks. Unlike Augustine, Alfred thinks slavery is good. Henrique thinks Eva is cool but she thinks he needs a lot of work after he beats a slave. She makes him swear to love all people, even slaves.
  • Eva’s really sick.
  • Eva talks about Jesus dying for the sins of others. She says she’d die, too, if it meant the end of slavery.
  • Eva makes her dad promise to free all his slaves if she dies. St. Clare agrees.
  • Eva tells Topsy that she loves her and Topsy finally believes herself to be a lovable person.
  • During Eva’s big death scene, she gathers all the slaves around her. She says all the Christians will be together in heaven. She gives all the slaves a piece of her golden hair. Tom stays with Eva until she dies and comforts St. Clare.

CHAPTER 27 – 28

  • After Eva’s death, St. Clare is a loner. He wants to free the slaves like he promised.
  • Tom is happy about this news but says he’ll stay with St. Clare until the guy’s more together.
  • St. Clare gives Topsy to Ophelia.
  • Mrs. St. Clare is even more fake-sick since Eva’s death.
  • Uncle Tom tries to get St. Clare to think of Eva is heaven. St. Clare asks Tom to teach him about Jesus. The more St. Clare finds Christianity, the less pain he feels about Eva.
  • St. Clare is close to freeing the slaves. He talks to Ophelia about educating the slaves after they are freed.
  • Before he can free the slaves, St. Clare is stabbed when he tries settle a fight between to drunk guys.
  • As he dies, St. Clare asks Tom to pray for him. St. Clare feels he is going to meet up with Eva and his mother.

CHAPTERS 29 – 34

  • Mrs. St. Clare doesn’t want to free the slaves. She couldn’t give a shit about what her husband promised.
  • Tom is sent to the public auction to be sold.
  • Simon Legree buys Tom and Emmeline. Legree’s a mean guy who makes his money by trading slaves and with the cotton industry.
  • Legree brings all the slaves chained together onto the boat to go to his plantation. Tom, who went to the auction in his good suit, is made to wear rags while Legree sells Tom’s clothes and stuff.
  • Legree also takes Tom’s hymn book from him and tells him there’s no place for singing or praying or anything on his plantation.
  • Tom hides his Bible and hears Eva’s voice telling him everything’s okay.
  • Legree tells all the slaves how he is the master and how he disciplines all the slaves himself.
  • Tom knows Legree’s a big drinker.
  • Legree’s place is a run-down plantation. All the windows are boarded up and weeds grow everywhere.
  • Sambo and Quimbo work for Legree and will do anything he says without question so the other slaves don’t like them.
  • The slave quarters suck. They have to sleep on dirty hay on the floor.
  • Tom is upset but finds peace in the Bible. He reads it to the workers who come in from the field.
  • Tom dreams about Eva, who says she’s with him.
  • Tom is a very strong man so he works in the fields.
  • Legree knows what a good worker Tom is but also knows he’s a Christian.
  • Legree becomes annoyed with Tom’s poise and calmness.
  • Tom helps a slave in the fields since she’s not very strong. He puts some of his cotton into her sack. Cassy, another slave, puts some of her cotton into Tom’s sack.
  • When Legree hears about this, he tells Tom to beat the girl he helped. Tom won’t do it. Legree beats Tom. Even though Legree says he owns Tom, Tom says he doesn’t own his soul. Legree is so pissed at this that he beats Tom until he’s unconscious.
  • Cassy helps Tom. She tells Tom what it’s been like there for five years. Tom tells her to believe in god but Cassy thinks god has ignored them. Tom gets better and reads the Bible to Cassy. He says that people should be forgiven for their sins even though they cause suffering.
  • Cassy tells Tom about her life before Legree. She had been taught to read and write and stuff by a guy who was going to free her, but then she was bought by a handsome master with whom she had two kids. But then the master got into debt so he sold the kids to pay off the debt. The guy who bought them, also bought her, and sold the kids. Cassy was so upset she stabbed the guy and tried to get her children back. She wound up with Legree and hopes he goes to hell.

CHAPTERS 35 – 40

  • Before Cassy had gone to see Tom, she went to Legree’s house where he was drinking the night away as usual. Cassy knows that Legree fears her in some way, so she exploits that. She tells Legree she has the devil inside her.
  • Legree doesn’t want to be alone with his fear so he gets Sambo and Quimbo to come in and drink with him. Legree is kind of haunted by memories of his mother, who loved him, but whom he treated like dirt. The three drink and get rowdy and freak Emmeline out (she’s upstairs). Cassy gets back and comforts Emmeline.
  • The next day, Legree is hung way over. When Cassy stops by to tell him to back off with Tom, Legree agrees since Cassy points out that Tom harvests the most crops. Legree wants Tom to apologize. Cassy says it won’t happen, but Legree goes to Tom anyway.
  • Tom refuses to get down on his hands and knees as Legree demands, so Legree hit Tom and kicks him. Tom knows that he shouldn’t be punished for helping someone so he won’t give in. Legree knocks Tom over. Cassy gets him to stop. Legree leaves. Cassy says how worried she is about Tom.
  • Back with the Quakers, George, Eliza, and Harry are getting ready to go to Canada. Loker is still there healing from his wound.
  • With Eliza disguised as a man (yeah, baby, she’s a man!) and Harry as a little girl, they all get on the boat to Canada. Mrs. Smyth is a lady who goes with them to help get them settled. Marks looks for them, but their clever disguises work. They finally get to Canada where they are free! They sing a hymn of thanks.
  • Legree has it out for Tom.
  • Tom reads the Bible and won’t go the bad guy way with Quimbo and Sambo who try to get him to join up with them. Tom is saddened at the way things have turned out, but Christ appears to him in a vision, which makes him feel better.
  • Cassy plans to escape with Emmeline. She wants Tom to go but he won’t because he feels he is the one who comforts the other slaves.
  • Cassy and Emmeline convince Legree that they are going to the swamps but really they are up in the attic. Cassy takes some money Legree had hidden. After Legree and his men try to find the women in the swamp, they go to Tom. Tom says he can’t help them. Legree beats Tom until he thinks Tom’s dead.
  • The other slaves take Tom back to their quarters and try to clean him up. All the slaves have been helped by tom in one way or another so they want to help him. Sambo and Quimbo ask to be forgiven and want to know more about Jesus. Tom tells them.

CHAPTERS 42 – 45

  • Mrs. Shelby is taking care of her dying husband. Finally, the letter Ophelia wrote to the Shelby’s about Tom reaches them. After Mr. Shelby dies, George Shelby, who is now grown up, goes to find Tom.
  • George meets Legree who says what a rebellious slave Tom has been. Legree says Tom is responsible for Cassy and Emmeline running away. Legree also informs George that Tom is so badly beaten he is going to die.
  • When George finds Tom, Tom is in bad shape. George is sad but also angry that Tom’s been treated so badly. Tom still believes that he loves all people and that being a Christian has is a wonderful thing.
  • George buries Tom in a quiet place. George swears he’ll do what he can to get slavery away from his land.
  • Legree is wasting away. Cassy and Emmeline are still in the attic and make noises so that, in his drunken haze, Legree will think the house is haunted. Finally, the women get out of the house and meet up with George Shelby.
  • On the boat going north, Emmeline and Cassy meet Madame de Thoux, who is George Harris’s sister. Of course, George is married to Eliza, who is Cassy’s daughter! Everyone gets to Montreal where George and Eliza have been for a couple of years. Big reunion.
  • George has to tell Chloe the bad news. He says Tom died peacefully.
  • George frees all his slaves in honor of Tom.
  • Legree drinks himself to death alone.
  • Ophelia and Topsy go back to Vermont and eventually Topsy becomes a missionary in Africa.
  • George, Eliza, Harry, and Harry’s new sister live in France then in Africa.
  • Cassy gets religious again and her son is found.
  • The author of the book goes on to talk about how being Christian makes life better and how slavery sucks and how you can’t really be a good Christian and treat other people like crap.

 

THINGS TO MAKE YOU LOOK SMART

  • Harriet Beecher Stowe was obviously way into being Christian. She’s from a religious family.
  • Tom is kinda Christ-like, don’t you think?
  • People have looked at this book in a lot of different ways over the years. Some people think this book is good because it depicts how bad slavery is. Some people think the way women and blacks are portrayed in this book sucks. Some critics say the book has no constant narrator and no good writing. Some people think this is an example of "the great American novel."
  • Even though Tom is a big black slave and Eva is a small rich white girl, they are depicted as being similar.
  • The characters show a range of acceptance with slavery – from Shelby to St. Clare to Legree to Mr. and Mrs. Bird.