Racial Stereotypes in Uncle Tom's Cabin

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Chelsea Reminga IAH207 Paper #1 8 October 2012 Racial Stereotypes in Uncle Tom’s Cabin Although Harriet Beecher Stowe intended for Uncle Tom’s Cabin to be an abolitionist novel, racial stereotypes of various characters are abundant throughout the book, taking away from the anti-slavery aspects and highlighting a more racially prejudiced viewpoint. Almost every character in the novel supports a classic stereotype in regard to their race. Multiple instances of African stereotypes can be found by looking at Tom’s character in the novel, as well as Aunt Chloe’s, but stereotypes about Caucasians are easily found within other characters, like Haley and Legree, as well. There is even evidence to support that stereotypes from both races, African and Caucasian, are given to characters in the novel that are of mixed race. In the beginning, one only has to look as far as Tom, the main character, to find examples of racial stereotypes. Stowe described Tom as an admirable and compassionate character, willing to sacrifice everything for the common good of his family, his faith in God, and his master. In the beginning of the novel, Tom refuses to run away following the news that he had been sold by his master, Mr. Shelby, into the malicious hands of Haley, a malevolent slave trader. Even though Tom knows that his life under Haley will be a living hell, he chooses not to run for the sake of the rest of the slave's on the Shelby plantation and out of faithfulness to his master. His willingness to serve is displayed by the description of him "standing wistfully examining the multitude of faces thronging around him, for one he would wish to call master" (Stowe, 289). Stowe’s depiction of him as a strong, kind man who also possessed a "humble simplicity" (18) falls into the classic racial characterization of Africans as simple and childlike. Tom's willingness to serve and his
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