2016 Reading Challenge
9. Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Topic: book at least 100 years older than you
Uncle Tom's Cabin changed forever how Americans viewed slavery, the system that treated people as property. It demanded that the United States deliver on the promise of freedom and equality, galvanized the abolition movement and contributed to the outbreak of the Civil War. The book calls on us to confront the legacy of race relations in the U.S. as the title itself became a racial slur.
I have wanted to read this since my theatre company did the musical The King and I. That was several years ago (2012). One of the scenes in the show is the telling of Uncle Tom's Cabin in a play format. Although it wasn't my favorite scene, I wanted to read the book to understand it better in a way.
Harriet Beecher Stowe took a huge risk when she wrote this as slavery was considered acceptable back then. While there were people who knew it wasn't okay, no one really said a word because it would have been defying the government (in a way). I attempted to read Uncle Tom's Cabin back in 2012, but I just couldn't get into it and I put it on hold. Now that I've read it completely, I'm glad Harriet Beecher Stowe took that risk to portray that slavery was wrong.
This was an eye-opener to me. Although Uncle Tom's Cabin is fiction, Harriet's portrayal of slavery and what really went on is one of the truest accounts of that time. In this book, I appreciated how the different characters viewed slavery, from the ones who supported it in cruel ways (like Simon Legree) to the ones who saw it as wrong but couldn't do anything about it (like Eva and Mrs. Shelby).
Eva, along with Uncle Tom of course, were my favorite characters. I enjoyed how Tom stuck strong and true to his Christian faith despite everything he went through. Eva may have only been a child, but she had the wisdom of someone much older, who was also strong in her faith and that there's good in everyone. It was heartbreaking when she died.
As an American, America has had it share of mistakes. Slavery was one of them. Racism is another. I'm happy that slavery got abolished with the Emancipation Proclamation and the years after. Our country has come a long way since then in terms of racism and although we still have ways to go, I'm proud of what we have done accomplished.
I think Uncle Tom's Cabin is a must read for teenagers and adults alike.
So, I am happy to announce that my new blog is now out and I have my first post published. Check it out here: Writing With Meg.
Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!