Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin

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Summary
Analysis
St. Clare’s brother, Alfred, visits the Lake Ponchartrain home with his son Henrique. Henrique is a handsome, difficult, and aristocratic child who is enamored of his cousin Eva. Henrique’s slave Dodo brings around the boy’s horse, and though Dodo cleaned it earlier, the horse is dusty. Henrique reacts angrily, yells at Dodo, and slaps him in the face. When Tom tries to explain the situation, Henrique tells him to be quiet. Eva asks why Henrique is so cruel, and though Henrique believes slaves ought to be treated this way, he agrees not to injure Dodo again in Eva’s sight.
Henrique has clearly inherited his father’s manner of dealing with slaves. Eva does not appreciate Henrique’s behavior, but he only promises not to be so cruel when Eva is looking—it might be inferred that he will continue in his cruelty when he is alone. Because slaves are not fully human, in Henrique’s eyes, there is no reason to treat them fairly.
Themes
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
Alfred and Augustine watch this scene from afar. When Augustine quotes Thomas Jefferson, that “all men are created free and equal,” Alfred counters that of course this isn’t so, and that slaves must be “kept down.” Augustine wonders whether a slave uprising can be “kept down” forever. They speak of the recent Haitian revolution. Alfred claims that Anglo-Saxons are the master race, born to lead, and Augustine replies, using this line of argument, that if whites reproduce with blacks long enough, soon slaves will contain white blood and will perhaps be more suited to rebellion.
The brothers keep up their long-standing discussion of the nature of slavery, and the best method for treating slaves. St. Clare repeats his assertion that, eventually, slaves will not be able to be kept in bondage forever, and their uprising will tear the country apart. Although St. Clare was not correct in predicting a national slave rebellion, the Civil War did in fact nearly destroy the country, and it resulted in the emancipation of all slaves.
Themes
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
Alfred does admit, however, that the slave system encourages young owners like Henrique to mistreat slaves, although he also believes that black slaves set an example of what not to do for their young white masters. Alfred asks Augustine why, considering his opinions, he does not simply free his slaves. Augustine replies that the world is already too prejudiced against blacks to make free life truly equal.
Another echo of the idea that slavery encourages a kind of absolute dictatorship on the part of owners. Such power is particularly troublesome when young people, who have nothing to temper their impulses, are permitted to direct the activities of slaves.
Themes
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Eva and Henrique return from riding, and Augustine is concerned that his daughter has ridden too much for her health. Eva tells her cousin to love Dodo. Henrique responds that one may “like but not love” one’s servants. Eva says that the Bible asks people to love all humankind. Henrique promises that he will try to love all, since he loves Eva.
Another intimation that Eva’s health is perilous. Henrique again makes a promise to Eva, but this one also seems qualified and self-serving. When Eva speaks of universal love, she embodies the Christian ideal, as taught by Jesus, that man ought to love even the lowliest. Henrique wishes only to court Eva.
Themes
Women Theme Icon
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