So Maybe That's Why We Read Uncle Tom's Cabin...

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"The implied denunciation of slavery in Huckleberry Finn is more damaging than the frontal attack delivered by Uncle Tom's Cabin because Jim is so much more convincing as a character than is Mrs. Stowe's Uncle Tom, who is almost an allegorical figure- a Black Christ." (Smith 324)

I never really thought of comparing Uncle Tom and Jim. I didn't put the whole slavery concept together in both pieces. I agree- Uncle Tom is like a Black Christ, but I disagree with Smith when he says that Jim is a more convincing character making the issue of slavery in Huckleberry Finn more damaging. When reading Uncle Tom's Cabin, I felt more connected to the slavery issue and really felt bad for the characters. It really gave me a taste of how people viewed slavery. I got mad at some of the characters, like Ophelia, when she said terrible things about slaves and was siding with Eva and connecting with her thoughts. In Huck Finn, I often forget that Huck and Jim and escaping slavery. I'm always thinking "Oh they are just going on an adventure." Sure, it maybe be convincing that he's black because of the use of dialects, but otherwise, not so much.

Maybe it's because Uncle Tom's Cabin main point was to address slavery, while in Huck Finn, it may have been more of a subplot? Because at times in Huck Finn, the actions that are happening have nothing to do with escaping slavery, just Huck doing his thing that he's doing, which is mainly making up stories. And that gets old real fast.

http://jerz.setonhill.edu/EL266/2009/10/smith_hn_introd/

5 Comments

Jeremy Barrick said:

See, I got the impression that Uncle Tom's Cabin was more about independence. Breaking free from constraint.
AHF was more of escape. Escaping one's problems. Leaving them behind.

Meagan Gemperlein said:

I agree with what you're saying. I guess then you could say slavery is defined differently in each of the pieces. Independence and escape, although similiar and can both be applied to slavery, can be very different.

Escape goes with the whole idea of adventure, which fits Huckleberry Finn more so than Uncle Tom's Cabin.

I didn't see Uncle Tom's Cabin as pure independence, but more of a search for it. It's the search that I see more in AHF than escape as well. Huck has so many adventures that allow him to do so many different things, it's like he's trying everything before picking one way of life. Jim has the same setup, just not to such an extreme. Being black, he can't try everything Huck gets to.

So I would agree that the escape goes with the idea of adventure :)

Jennifer Prex said:

I think the difference is that the slavery issue is directly addressed in Uncle Tom's Cabin through various acted out scenes, whereas the issue seems to be shown mostly through Huck's naive and society induced worldview in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I agree with you, though, that it did seem to come across stronger with Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Kayla Lesko said:

Yeah, this is a late comment but anyhoo...

I agree with you that Uncle Tom's character gets the reader more involved with the story. Without Jim, AHF would even more random than it already was. Jim makes things interesting with his comments.

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