Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin

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Uncle Tom's Cabin Chapter 40: The Martyr Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Legree is incensed at Emmeline and Cassy’s disappearance, and he takes his anger out on Tom, who is overjoyed at the news. Friends of Legree’s continue to hunt the swamps for the pair. In the garret, Cassy says she only wishes to escape to freedom because of Emmeline—Cassy herself feels she has nothing to live for. Emmeline replies that she will love Cassy, even if Cassy is not capable of returning this affection. Emmeline tells her to put faith in God.
Emmeline’s love for Cassy creates another mother-daughter pairing in the novel. In this case, however, Emmeline is the one to initiate the affection and to convince Cassy that all will be well. In this sense the Eliza-Harry relationship is reversed: it is Emmeline, the daughter, who urges Cassy, the mother, on as they escape.
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Legree tells Quimbo to beat Tom until he reveals any knowledge of Emmeline and Cassy’s escape. Tom knows where they are hiding but vows silently never to give up their whereabouts. Quimbo grabs Tom, and Legree announces that he has decided to murder him. Tom refuses to speak. Legree vows to “conquer or kill” Tom. Tom says he would give anything to Legree to help save him, and that Legree must not bring sin upon himself. Legree grows even angrier and strikes Tom.
Even when Legree vows to destroy Tom, Tom desires primarily that Legree not sin so that his (Legree’s) soul remains pure. This is, once again, a nearly unbelievable instance of godliness. Tom’s behavior becomes truly saintly.
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Legree encourages Sambo and Quimbo to beat Tom mercilessly. They realize they are doing something “wicked” and hope that this sin will fall upon their master and not them. They tend to Tom’s wounds as he prepares to die and ask him about Jesus. Tom tells them they can be saved, and that he would give his own life to “bring them to Christ.” Sambo and Quimbo wonder how they have not believed in Jesus’ grace before.
Sambo and Quimbo’s “conversion” to Christianity mirrors the conversation Jesus has with the robbers while crucified on the cross at Golgotha. The Christ-Tom parallel is thus further clarified in this passage.
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