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Different Kinds of Freedom

"Gorgeous clouds, tinted with sunlight. Eva, robed in white, is discovered on the
back of a milk-white dove, with expanded wings, as if just soaring upward. Her
hands are extended in benediction over St. Clare and Uncle Tom who are kneeling
and gazing up to her
~Act VI, scene 7, page 133 of George Aiken's Uncle Tom's Cabin

I don't think it's any secret that a major theme in this play is freedom. On the surface there is the earthly freedom from slavery--as some of the characters run away from their masters, and Uncle Tom was promised freedom at one point before it was taken away--but there is another kind of freedom that appeared to be just as prominent if not even more so; that freedom is the ultimate kind--free from pain, sorrow, and all of the earthly torments. Death was not portrayed as something to fear in this play. There was sorrow, but hope always seemed to be mixed in with the sorrow. It was sad at the end when Uncle Tom died before gaining his earthly freedom, but when it really comes down to it, he was freer with this ending than he ever would have been had the play ended differently. I chose to quote the ending stage directions rather than dialogue because I thought that this more than anything else gets this idea across. The play doesn't end in sorrow because Uncle Tom died. It ends with Tom, St. Clare, and Eva in heaven.

Comments (1)

Jessica Pierce:

I definitely agree with you. I thought it was really nice that the play really wasn't about the sorrow associated with death; it was about the religious aspects and joyfulness that can be associated with it.

Also, the way you described freedom makes me associate it with death. The people who receive the freedom in this play do ultimately die. The characters were not afraid to gain freedom by death either. Even though Tom was a slave, and freedom from slavery appealed to him, the freedom he truly seeked was to join Eva in heaven.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 9, 2009 5:34 PM.

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