Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin

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Senator and Mrs. Bird Character Analysis

An Ohio Senator and his wife. Senator Bird has recently argued for the passage of a bill making it a crime to aid escaping slaves. Mrs. Bird believes this bill is immoral, and is cheered to discover her husband is more than willing to help Eliza and Harry as they pass through Ohio en route to Canada.

Senator and Mrs. Bird Quotes in Uncle Tom's Cabin

The Uncle Tom's Cabin quotes below are all either spoken by Senator and Mrs. Bird or refer to Senator and Mrs. Bird. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Bantam Books edition of Uncle Tom's Cabin published in 1981.
Chapter 9: In Which It Appears That a Senator is but a Man Quotes

You ought to be ashamed, John! Poor, homeless, houseless creatures! It’s a shameful, wicked, abominable law, and I’ll break it, for one, the first time I get a chance . . . .

Related Characters: Senator and Mrs. Bird (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Bible
Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:

This is another instance of well-intentioned and impassioned argument by white Americans, wondering what is ethical and right in the face of human bondage occurring in the South. Mrs. Bird, whose husband is a Senator, believes that any law preventing people from helping fugitive slaves, in a free state like Ohio or in any state, is deeply immoral. But the Senator argues, for his part, that though he also feels this way, he has other obligations as a Senator. One of them is to preserve the balance of power between states in the United States - it is, in short, to avoid war.

Of course, the reader today understands that war could not be avoided, and that Senator Bird's theory, in this case, proved incorrect. For there was no amount of moderation that could prevent the conflict between free and slave states from spilling over. There could be no ultimate compromise on the issue of human freedom and inequality. And this latter position seems to align more closely with Mrs. Bird's -- another example of a woman taking a more sympathetic view on slavery than the novel's men. 

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Senator and Mrs. Bird Character Timeline in Uncle Tom's Cabin

The timeline below shows where the character Senator and Mrs. Bird appears in Uncle Tom's Cabin. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 9: In Which It Appears That a Senator is but a Man
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
An Ohio state Senator named Bird is at home with his wife and children; he has recently been away... (full context)
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Mrs. Bird asks her husband what he would do if an escaped slave came to their home,... (full context)
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Eliza begins telling her story. The Birds reveal that they have recently lost a child, and Mrs. Bird, the children, and a... (full context)
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Beecher Stowe claims that the Senator only knew fugitive slaves in the abstract, thus allowing him to argue for the passage... (full context)
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
...never joined a church till he found one that understood slavery as explicitly immoral. The Senator places Eliza and Harry in Van Trompe’s care, then leaves for Columbus in order to... (full context)