Uncle Tom's Cabin

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Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin


The story begins in the middle of the 19th Century in Kentucky on the farm of Mr. Shelby. There will be a closed shop, after Tom, the best slave to the Shelby's and Harry, the young son of Elisha, the maid of Miss Shelby, to Haley, a slave trader to be sold. Tom has his wife, Chloe, his children and his good-natured Mr. Goodbye to what it is not easy. Uncle Tom's Cabin (Uncle Tom's Cabin) is a novel by the author abolitionist U.S. Harriet Beecher Stowe, which has a central theme of slavery. The work was first published on March 20 of 1852. The story centers on the story of Uncle Tom, a slave African American who has suffered enough, the star around which other characters, both slave owners, they move. The novel dramatizes the harsh reality of slavery while showing that Christian love and faith can overcome something as destructive as enslavement of human beings. (Sundquist, 2006)

More recently, scholars have returned to defending the novel's antislavery impulse, despite its racial travesties. Arguing against Baldwin, Furnas, and Yarborough, Michael Meyer claims that the characters in the text support rather than subvert Stowe's abolitionist stance, and Arthur Riss maintains that the novel's racialism drives its "progressive" politics. Analyzing the text through the lens of blackface subversion, Lhamon also sees it achieving liberatory reform through, and despite, its racialism. But his work, which celebrates minstrelsy's antiracist energies, has been criticized by Eric Lott, who asserts that "Lhamon's sympathetic readings of blackface's racial work ring hollow". While Lott appreciates minstrelsy's subversive elements, he ultimately reproaches the form, and his views push toward the critical camp that has denounced Stowe. I could join Lott and fault Lhamon's approach to minstrelsy, or do the reverse, but taking sides over such conflicted cultural phenomena as minstrelsy or Uncle Tom's Cabin eventually runs its course. Stowe's book, it seems to me, virtually balances racialism and antiracism, negative stereotypes and abolitionist virtues. Her racial ambivalence, along with what her biographer, Joan Hedrick, calls her "inchoate politics", yields a text that speaks with a forked tongue, much like minstrelsy, leaving ample room for praise and condemnation. (Rosenthal, 2009)

To investigate the novel's conflicted impulses, this essay draws on Homi Bhabha's notion of colonial mimicry, which he describes as "the desire for a reformed, recognizable other, as a subject of difference that is almost the same, but not quite" (86; his italics). Mimicry urges the colonized to imitate the colonizer, yet the outcome of such imitation is never an exact copy, because mimicry can easily turn to mockery or menace, enabling the colonized to subvert the master narrative. Using the tools of minstrelsy, Tom, Sam, Adolph, and George all remake themselves by mimicking national icons, attitudes, and ideals. Since they operate within the conflicted economy of minstrelsy, however, their imitations complicate Bhabha's notion of mimicry. (Williams, 2010)

Rather than being only subversive, these characters undermine and reinforce racial hegemony, menace and maintain the national ...
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