Uncle Tom, Topsy, Sambo, Simon Legree, little Eva: their names are American bywords, and all of them are characters in Harriet Beecher Stowe's remarkable novel of the pre-Civil War South. Uncle Tom's Cabin was revolutionary in 1852 for its passionate indictment of slavery and for its presentation of Tom, "a man of humanity," as the first black hero in American fiction. .
Gr 10 Up-Perry Keenlyside's abridged rendering of this classic tale adequately tells Harriet Beecher Stowe's antislavery story. Uncle Tom, a dignified and strong man, endures ownership by two men who treat him kindly: first by George Shelby who keeps Tom's family together until economics forces a sale, and second by Augustine St. Clare who comes to respect Tom's character and all he stands for. When Augustine dies, Tom is sold to the cruel Simon Legree. It is at Legree's farm that Tom dies as a result of one of his beatings. Although Tom suffered a wavering in his faith at the hands of Simon Legree, it is here that Tom has a religious reawakening and dies strong in his faith. In its condensed form, the religious aspects of the novel seem to be given added significance, but perhaps that is only right given the social climate out of which this novel was born. Liza Ross reads the story, assuming several voices for each of the different characters. In a few places, the reading of the tags describing a voice we just heard seems awkward and redundant. Overall, Ross's voice is a convincing one, able to engage even today's visually oriented students. A music interlude signals the break between chapters, a good stopping point for discussion.-Suzanne Goodman, Park High School, Livingston, MT Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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July 01, 2003
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Excerpt from Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Late in the afternoon of a chilly day in February, two gentlemen were sitting alone
over their wine, in a well-furnished dining parlor, in the town of P-, in Kentucky.
There were no servants present, and the gentlemen, with chairs closely
approaching, seemed to be discussing some subject with great earnestness.
For convenience sake, we have said, hitherto, two gentlemen. One of the parties,
however, when critically examined, did not seem, strictly speaking, to come under
the species. He was a short, thick-set man, with coarse, commonplace features, and
that swaggering air of pretension which marks a low man who is trying to elbow his
way upward in the world. He was much over-dressed, in a gaudy vest of many
colors, a blue neckerchief, bedropped gayly with yellow spots, and arranged with a
flaunting tie, quite in keeping with the general air of the man. His hands, large and
coarse, were plentifully bedecked with rings; and he wore a heavy gold
watch-chain, with a bundle of seals of portentous size, and a great variety of colors,
attached to it,-which, in the ardor of conversation, he was in the habit of
flourishing and jingling with evident satisfaction. His conversation was in free and
easy defiance of Murray's Grammar, and was garnished at convenient intervals with
various profane expressions, which not even the desire to be graphic in our account
shall induce us to transcribe.
His companion, Mr. Shelby, had the appearance of a gentleman; and the
arrangements of the house, and the general air of the housekeeping, indicated easy,
and even opulent circumstances. As we before stated, the two were in the midst of
an earnest conversation.
'That is the way I should arrange the matter,' said Mr. Shelby.
'I can't make trade that way-I positively can't, Mr. Shelby,' said the other, holding
up a glass of wine between his eye and the light.
'Why, the fact is, Haley, Tom is an uncommon fellow; he is certainly worth that sum
anywhere-steady, honest, capable, manages my whole farm like a clock.'
'You mean honest, as niggers go,' said Haley, helping himself to a glass of brandy.
'No; I mean, really, Tom is a good, steady, sensible, pious fellow. He got religion at
a camp-meeting, four years ago; and I believe he really did get it. I've trusted him,
since then, with everything I have,money, house, horses, and let him come and
go round the country; and I always found him true and square in everything.'
'Some folks don't believe there is pious niggers, Shelby,' said Haley, with a candid
flourish of his hand, 'but I do. I had a fellow, now, in this yer last lot I took to
Orleans-'twas as good as a meetin', now, really, to hear that critter pray; and he was
quite gentle and quiet like. He fetched me a good sum, too, for I bought him cheap
of a man that was 'bliged to sell out; so I realized six hundred on him. Yes, I consider
religion a valeyable thing in a nigger, when it's the genuine article, and no mistake.'