Uncle Tom’s Cabin Allusions
Since the time it was published in 1951, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” written by Harriet Beecher Stowe has been investigated for several reasons. Stowe’s glorification of characters in the novel is often criticized by critics nowadays. Uncle Tom and Eva St. Clare are the characters that are commonly criticized. Both characters are represented as extremely righteous and they do not react to the harsh behavior of others.
However, what modern critics fail to realize is the connection the novel makes with the most popular book ever known by Christianity, “The Bible.”
By further investigating the characters of Eva St. Clare and Uncle Tom, characters that are the target of modern critics, the reader realizes that both of them play the key role in Uncle Tom’s Cabin Allusions. Stowe has cleverly made them as allegorical characters and only at this point can the reader realize how the novel is intelligently crafted to fit Christianity.
Majority of Americans are not familiar with the bible nor do they use Christian imagery as commonly as it was used in Stowe’s time, and this is the reason why modern critics are unable to grasp the characters involved in the novel as idealistic. As expected, this leads them to miss even the most apparent religious imagery made in the novel.
Evangeline St. Clare is one of the alluded characters in the novel. In the Bible, there is a popular verse that alludes precisely to the role played by Evangeline in the novel. She is the pacifist, leader and what her name already suggests, an evangelist who has a very strong relation with all characters in the novel.
Stowe is successfully able to represent her beliefs by the words used by Eva especially when she asks some of the questions that were considered fundamentals at that time like, “Doesn’t the
Bible say we must love everybody?”
Another character is known by the name of Miss Ophelia. She simply cannot bear the kindness Eva shows to the slaves and takes care of them as they are not inferior in her eyes. Her relationship with the slaves is clearly justified when she gets closer to death. She summons every single slave to give them a piece of herself, in a lock of hair. Evangeline giving out locks of hair is clearly an allusion of Christ’s Sermon at the Last Supper where He refers to the piece of Himself as the food people will consume.
Here, Jesus is well aware of his imminent death but he still remains relaxed. Similarly, Eva is also relaxed just before her execution. In both situations, they give something to people what they love in order to remember their unjustified execution.
Uncle Tom is also an extraordinary slave just like Eva is an extraordinary girl. From the start of the novel, Uncle Tom can clearly allude to the biblical figure of Joseph, who also is martyred in the Way of the Cross.
Just like Joseph was enslaved by the Pharaoh in Egypt after his brothers betrayed him, Uncle Tom was deserted by his friend called Mr. Shelby.
After the execution of Eva St. Clare, Uncle Tom was sent to the Legree’s farm where he makes a significant transformation from an elegant slave just like Joseph in the Old Testament to the homeless Prodigal Son of the New Testament. Following that, he begins to walk in allegorical “Way of the Cross” in the same manner as Jesus Christ had done before His crucifixion.
After receiving criticism by the modern critics about the Stowe’s time period, the reader can easily identify that people living alongside Stowe considered Uncle Tom as a True Christian figure without questioning his skin color.