Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin

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Uncle Tom's Cabin Chapter 3: The Husband and Father Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Soon after Haley’s visit to Shelby, George visits Eliza at the Shelby estate. He bitterly complains of having to return to his master’s farm and wishes that he and Harry had never been born, and that he had never met Eliza. She counsels him to be patient. George answers that he has always been patient, and that his patience can guarantee only more drudgery.
For George, different forms of freedom exist. At the factory, though he was still a slave, he was able to apply his skills and intelligence—he was free to use his mind. Back on the farm, he is treated far less humanely.
Themes
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Eliza states that she has obeyed her master and mistress because it is Christian to do so. George agrees that she has been treated well but responds that he, however, has been treated with no respect, and has been worked hard throughout his life. He relates the story of his dog Carlos, given to him by Eliza, who was drowned by George's master because slaves' dogs are a nuisance.
Eliza preaches to George a Christian tolerance derived from the teachings of Jesus: when an enemy wrongs you, turn the other cheek. George argues that Eliza can afford to think this way only because she has been raised by more generous and benevolent masters.
Themes
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
George says his circumstances must change; they make it difficult for him behave as a Christian and believe in God, and are trying to force him to marry a woman on his master’s farm despite his marriage to Eliza. George reminds her that they may be sold separately, or Harry may be sold, and even if the Shelbys are against it now, they might die and cause their slaves to be scattered. Eliza thinks anxiously of Harry but does not tell George of her fear that Harry might be sold.
George wishes to act as a Christian but has more difficulty than Eliza in understanding the intentions of a God who permits slavery, which makes a mockery of the Christian idea of marriage and allows loving families to be broken up. George’s struggle with Christian teachings and his own freedom continues throughout the book.
Themes
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
George announces he has decided to flee to Canada or die in the process. Eliza begs him to behave honorably, without harming himself or others, and he departs after a painful goodbye.
George feels that he cannot exist as a slave, and is willing to do anything to escape. Eliza reminds him to act honorably, to act as a Christian, even in his escape attempt. Note how the slaves seem more attuned to acting according to true Christian ideals, even in the most difficult circumstances, than the white characters do
Themes
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
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