Stephen’s review of Uncle Tom's Cabin > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Excellent review. The Ghandi quote is one of my favorites too. I love that movie.


message 2: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Thanks Kathryn. I feel the same way about the movie. It is one of my favorites.


message 3: by Werner (new)

Werner Stephen, great review! Personally, I would rate the literary quality of the writing a bit higher than you did --but then, I have a lot higher tolerance for 19th-century diction than most modern readers do. (Some would say I'm more of a glutton for punishment than most. :-) )


message 4: by Manny (new)

Manny Some like drink
In a pint pot,
Some like to think;
Some not.

Strong Dutch cheese,
Old Kentucky rye,
Some like all of these ;
Not I.

Some like Poe,
And others like Scott,
Some like Mrs. Stowe;
Some not.

Some like to laugh,
Some like to cry,
Some like chaff;
Not I.

- Robert Louis Stevenson


Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) When I read this years ago, I also thought I knew what Uncle Tom was going to be like and I was totally blown away by how he actually was. I kept trying to see the gross subservience that the insult implies, but I couldn't find it. I thought Uncle Tom was an awesome character, and the romance between Eliza and George Harris one of the most memorable in the books I've read from the era.


message 6: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) wrote: "When I read this years ago, I also thought I knew what Uncle Tom was going to be like and I was totally blown away by how he actually was. I kept trying to see the gross subservience that the insul..."

Thanks, Karla. I'm glad I am not alone in this. I didn't quite have the same connection to the Eliza/Harris aspect of the story, but I think I was so carried away by the character of Tom that everything else got lost.


message 7: by Ian (new)

Ian Paganus Great review, Stephen.
I wonder how many of us in our day and age have a cause that we would be prepared to die or suffer for.
Who would have been prepared to fight for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War?


message 8: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Ian wrote: "Great review, Stephen.
I wonder how many of us in our day and age have a cause that we would be prepared to die or suffer for.
Who would have been prepared to fight for the Republicans in the Spani..."


I'm afraid not enough of us, Ian. Sacrifice has become something of an anachronism.


message 9: by Helen (new)

Helen What an amazing review, Stephen. I have never read this but know that I have to now.


message 10: by Mia (new)

Mia Agreed! I couldn't have said it better. I was expecting Uncle Tom to compromise at some point, his cabin to represent a place of weakness. Instead, he was the most steadfast person in the world. I can't understand the term being used as a derogatory phrase at all.


message 11: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Mia wrote: "Agreed! I couldn't have said it better. I was expecting Uncle Tom to compromise at some point, his cabin to represent a place of weakness. Instead, he was the most steadfast person in the world. I ..."

Thank you, Mia. I'm glad I'm not alone in finding its use as a derogatory term baffling.


Lisa (Harmonybites) Just wanted to say that, first, having just read the book I really appreciated your review--but also, I think I understand how "Uncle Tom" became a derogatory term given the introduction to the edition I read. It turns out that Uncle Tom's Cabin was popularized by plays that popularized depictions that weren't congruent with the book or Stowe's intentions. In the book, for instance, Uncle Tom is represented as a physically powerful man still in his prime--many posters for plays showed him as an old white haired and bearded frail man. Other characters like Topsy also got "minstralized." So the popular perception of the book splintered away from the actual book. I knew before reading it, my knowledge of the book came primarily from The King and I!


message 13: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Harmonybites-

Thank you very much for letting me know that. What you told me makes perfect sense and I can completely see how some "minstralized" version of the character could have given rise to the stereotype. That has really bothered me since I read this because I found Tom to be such a strong, courageous person.


message 14: by Jodi (new)

Jodi Thanks all, that explained a lot! I mainly read this so I could understand more fully what the derogatory 'Uncle Tom' term meant, the detail of it, but was just left confused as it didn't seem to match the actual book character much. He didn't seem worthy of so much scorn.


message 15: by Fred (new)

Fred Uncle Tom is one of the most Christ-like figures in modern literature. His spiritual victory over Simon Legree is a classic and the conversion of his two executioners makes this great for Christians. For non-Christians not so much. Most people think you have to cut a few throats to accomplish anything heroic but unless you're a Bible believing Christian, some kinds of Hindu, a Buddhist, or a Jain you just will scratch your head and not get it at all. I really enjoyed the book and was inspired by Tom's committment to Christ and by Stowe's characterization of him. Worth reading.


message 16: by midnightfaerie (new)

midnightfaerie reading this now and completely 100% agree with your first paragraph.


message 17: by midnightfaerie (new)

midnightfaerie I mentioned ur review in my review...hope that's ok.
Click here for Midnightfaerie’s Review


message 18: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Profound and insightful review. Thank you.


message 19: by Davesincere (new)

Davesincere I have always known of this book but was never interested in reading it until recently. Your review helped spark more interest in me picking this up again.


message 20: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Webb Yeah, the term "Uncle Tom" is a complete misnomer.


message 21: by Hliyang1 (new)

Hliyang1 couldn't have said it better my self, great details and thoughts. I loved how you made the two connections


message 22: by Karen (new)

Karen Just one correction to your review. The mischaracterization of Tom did not emerge from the black community. Rather, it came from the stage productions put on by white people in blackface and it is probably more correct to say that in an effort to discredit Stowe's book ad de-sanctify Tom, they created a character who was a sell out - the opposite of what Tom's character is in the book, as you so rightly described.


message 23: by Kristie (new)

Kristie Hayes I agree...it's amazing that term has come to mean what it does today.


message 24: by Eli (new)

Eli I love your review. It's what I was saying all the time when i finished the book.


message 25: by Yakub (new)

Yakub Medici The "Uncle Tom" derogatory term came because he was nonviolent. The zealous black nationalists at the time were often not big on nonviolence. I'd have to agree with them to some extent, although you have a point.


message 26: by Ian (new)

Ian Karen said it all. "Uncle Tom" became a slur after black face and minstrel shows appropriated the characters name for their own supremacist agendas. "Uncle Tom" therefore is used most commonly in reference to the caricatures of black people that the name would represent in blackface and minstrel shows.

Uncle Tom in the novel was exceedingly selfless and virtuous. I too only understood the difference after reading the book.


message 27: by Joanna (new)

Joanna I completely agree with the reviewer's characterization of Uncle Tom. Additionally, the book shows that while slavery was wrong, and there were many injustices, not all owners were terrible sadistic monsters. It also illustrates how life was then- the children being raised at least in part together, which wouldn't happen in the south for 100 years after the war.

This is a book all Americans should read. Not only to remove the slur Uncle Tom from our vocabulary, but to show what life was like then. History is meaningless without context, and this book gives plenty. It also is one of the better books of the time period, style wise.


message 28: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Mikita "Uncle tom"is a derogatory term used by African Americans because he was totally subservient to his white masters. It has nothing to do with his


message 29: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Mikita Pureness or good character.


message 30: by SeanM (new)

SeanM Excellent review. I found the last 150 pages to be far better than the first half of the story. I also thought of Gandhi when Tom refused to do what he felt was wrong.


message 31: by John (new)

John Curry Agree with you 100% about Tom, upon finishing the book my thought was Uncle Tom is much maligned, he was no Uncle Tom! Obviously a heroic figure, how did this mis-characterization come about? I researched the early film versions, particularly, the silent era and in an attempt to make their point in the film, they over-animated the characters. Perhaps then through lax research the characterization if of an "Uncle Tom was derived from film rather than literature.


message 32: by Mara (new)

Mara Great review Stephen. Thanks for taking the time to write it.... Thinking about using it to entice my high school Italian students to read it (in Italian) , since they know little or nothing about it....
I was thinking about starting with the quote from Ganghi. What of you think? Suggestions are greatly welcome .
Mara


message 33: by Dana (new)

Dana Excellent review. I too read this in part to comprehend the negative connotation. Really appreciate the other comments which provide quite plausible explanations.


message 34: by Allison (new)

Allison Ruvidich Fantastic review! People betray their ignorance when they use Uncle Tom as a derogatory term, when it is really one of the greatest compliments you can receive.


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