Uncle Tom's Cabin: Life among the Lowly

Uncle Tom's Cabin: Life among the Lowly

3.7 268
by Harriet Beecher Stowe

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Complete, Authentic, Anti-Slavery Literature. This classic book opens with a Kentucky farmer named Arthur Shelby facing the loss of his farm because of debts. Even though he and his wife Emily Shelby believe that they have a benevolent relationship with their slaves, Shelby decides to raise the needed funds by selling two of them-Uncle Tom, a middle-aged man with a…  See more details below


Complete, Authentic, Anti-Slavery Literature. This classic book opens with a Kentucky farmer named Arthur Shelby facing the loss of his farm because of debts. Even though he and his wife Emily Shelby believe that they have a benevolent relationship with their slaves, Shelby decides to raise the needed funds by selling two of them-Uncle Tom, a middle-aged man with a wife and children, and Harry, the son of Emily Shelby's maid Eliza-to a slave trader. Emily Shelby is averse to this idea because she had promised her maid that her child would never be sold; Emily's son, George Shelby, hates to see Tom go because he sees the man as his friend and mentor.

When Eliza overhears Mr. and Mrs. Shelby discussing plans to sell Tom and Harry, Eliza determines to run away with her son. The novel states that Eliza made this decision because she fears losing her only surviving child (she had already miscarried two children). Eliza departs that night, leaving a note of apology to her mistress.

Tom is sold and placed on a riverboat which sets sail down the Mississippi River. While on board, Tom meets and befriends a young white girl named Eva. Eva's father Augustine St. Clare buys Tom from the slave trader and takes him with the family to their home in New Orleans. Tom and Eva begin to relate to one another because of the deep Christian faith they both share.

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Late in the afternoon of a chilly day in February, two gentlemen were sitting alone over their wine, in a well-furnished dining parlor, in the town of P—, in Kentucky.
There were no servants present, and the gentlemen, with chairs closely approaching, seemed to be discussing some subject with great earnestness.

For convenience sake, we have said, hitherto, two gentlemen. One of the parties,
however, when critically examined, did not seem, strictly speaking, to come under the species. He was a short, thick-set man, with coarse, commonplace features, and that swaggering air of pretension which marks a low man who is trying to elbow his way upward in the world. He was much over-dressed, in a gaudy vest of many colors, a blue neckerchief, bedropped gayly with yellow spots, and arranged with a flaunting tie, quite in keeping with the general air of the man. His hands, large and coarse, were plentifully bedecked with rings; and he wore a heavy gold watch-chain, with a bundle of seals of portentous size, and a great variety of colors,
attached to it,—which, in the ardor of conversation, he was in the habit of flourishing and jingling with evident satisfaction. His conversation was in free and easy defiance of Murray's Grammar, and was garnished at convenient intervals with various profane expressions, which not even the desire to be graphic in our account shall induce us to transcribe.

His companion, Mr. Shelby, had the appearance of a gentleman; and the arrangements of the house, and the general air of the housekeeping, indicated easy,
and even opulent circumstances. As we before stated, the two were in the midst of an earnest conversation.

'That is the way I should arrange the matter,' said Mr. Shelby.

'I can't make trade that way—I positively can't, Mr. Shelby,' said the other, holding up a glass of wine between his eye and the light.

'Why, the fact is, Haley, Tom is an uncommon fellow; he is certainly worth that sum anywhere—steady, honest, capable, manages my whole farm like a clock.'

'You mean honest, as niggers go,' said Haley, helping himself to a glass of brandy.

'No; I mean, really, Tom is a good, steady, sensible, pious fellow. He got religion at a camp-meeting, four years ago; and I believe he really did get it. I've trusted him,
since then, with everything I have,—money, house, horses,—and let him come and go round the country; and I always found him true and square in everything.'

'Some folks don't believe there is pious niggers, Shelby,' said Haley, with a candid flourish of his hand, 'but I do. I had a fellow, now, in this yer last lot I took to Orleans—'twas as good as a meetin', now, really, to hear that critter pray; and he was quite gentle and quiet like. He fetched me a good sum, too, for I bought him cheap of a man that was 'bliged to sell out; so I realized six hundred on him. Yes, I consider religion a valeyable thing in a nigger, when it's the genuine article, and no mistake.'

'Well, Tom's got the real article, if ever a fellow had,' rejoined the other. 'Why, last fall, I let him go to Cincinnati alone, to do business for me, and bring home five hundred dollars. 'Tom,' says I to him, 'I trust you, because I think you're a Christian—'I know you wouldn't cheat.' Tom comes back, sure enough; I knew he would. Some low fellows, they say, said to him—'Tom, why don't you make tracks for Canada?' 'Ah, master trusted me, and I couldn't'—they told me about it. I am sorry to part with Tom, I must say. You ought to let him cover the whole balance of the debt; and you would, Haley, if you had any conscience.'

'Well, I've got just as much conscience as any man in business can afford to keep,—just a little, you know, to swear by, as 'twere,' said the trader, jocularly; 'and then, I'm ready to do anything in reason to 'blige friends; but this yer, you see, is a leetle too hard on a fellow—a leetle too hard.' The trader sighed contemplatively, and poured out some more brandy.

'Well, then, Haley, how will you trade?' said Mr. Shelby, after an uneasy interval of silence.

'Well, haven't you a boy or gal that you could throw in with Tom?'

'Hum!—none that I could well spare; to tell the truth, it's only hard necessity makes me willing to sell at all. I don't like parting with any of my hands, that's a fact.'

Here the door opened, and a small quadroon boy, between four and five years of age, entered the room. There was something in his appearance remarkably beautiful and engaging. His black hair, fine as floss silk, hung in glossy curls about his round, dimpled face, while a pair of large dark eyes, full of fire and softness, looked out from beneath the rich, long lashes, as he peered curiously into the apartment. A gay robe of scarlet and yellow plaid, carefully made and neatly fitted, set off to advantage the dark and rich style of his beauty; and a certain comic air of assurance, blended with bashfulness, showed that he had been not unused to being petted and noticed by his master.

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Uncle Tom's Cabin 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 268 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is only the first 4 chapters!!!!!!!! DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Book starts at chapter twenty nine. Save time and nook memory. Do not bother with this edition.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a classic. It is a touching story about what slaves went through. It was even good enough to be put in the movie The King and I. That is what first moved me to read this book. Seriously give this book a try. You wont be disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fantastic book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After so many years i finally read this classic and i must say its an emotional rollercoaster.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While the events described in this book may seem highly unethical, the author had little recourse except to depict them in a straightforward manner. Slavery was not and is not ever a pretty picture. Readers turned off by the content are forced to acknowledge the degrading conditions of the oppressed in the antebellum U. S. South. That Uncle Tom could maintain such a positive sense of self-dignity and deep spirituality through the atrocities visited upon him, represents the indomitable spirit displayed by many African Americans during the era portrayed in this novel.
Kasey Andrews More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for a project in my American literature class last year and I really enjoyed it. Mrs. Stowe did an excellent job with characterization and descriptions. After researching her use of literary techniques, I could really appreciate her style of writing. It was a very well developed story with very interesting characters, all off them had their own story. I love how you could see the author's faith shine through in the book. It really gives you a different perspective on the religion of the day. I recommend this to readers who are up to a challenge as it is a rather hard book to just sit and read.
pcj60 More than 1 year ago
As an african american i think this is a must read. I never knew how compelling this book would be. Even with the errors it was still worthy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This classic is a must read for those who have missed this tale of the pain of human suffering in slavery...a pain that must not be forgotton, ever. I enjoyed this book as a 'reading again' experience, as classics such as this always have new meanings and enlightment with each reading. I highly recommend this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome! We are studying this in social studies!
ANDILOU More than 1 year ago
Something that everyone should read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Made me think of slavery in a whole new way. Highly recommended reading material.
Anonymous 23 days ago
Please do not waste your time and energy on this piece of junk. Thank you! - a reader
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Upon reading this work it was easy to see how it came to influence the end of slavery. The call to action for Christians was well written.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"We don't have to do this right now. If your scared. Just tell me." He said, the britishyness in his voice really showing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I kinda wanna read it , heard its a good book, but I'm thirteen and have also heard that its really confusing and hard to read. Please reply- should I read it?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cant read a thing and there is only ten friggin pages...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like the way the book was written. Good because Stowe actually lived during the time of the story and wrote her book based upon personal interviews with slaves.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a very touching story and a hard read as a 12 year old. However, Tom, going through a few different masrers ranging from luxurious to abusive, and Eva, a religous kind girl were very inspiring and brought me to tears. I recomend this book, but be prepared for a heartbreak at humankind's cruelty.