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"Check In" here if you plan to join the "Uncle Tom's Cabin" discussion

#149: Oct. - Dec. 2016 (Fiction)
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Chris OConnor

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"Check In" here if you plan to join the "Uncle Tom's Cabin" discussion

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Please make a brief post and "check in" here so we know who is planning on joining the "Uncle Tom's Cabin" discussion. :-)
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DWill

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Re: "Check In" here if you plan to join the "Uncle Tom's Cabin" discussion

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I read the book for the first time a couple of years ago, but I almost always find it pays to reread. So I'm saying I'll join.
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DWill

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Re: "Check In" here if you plan to join the "Uncle Tom's Cabin" discussion

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I'd just like to add: although the historical importance of a book isn't necessarily the best reason to read it, UTC is the most important book of the 19th Century, shown both by its popularity and its influence in turning the world against the American slave system. It's also uncommonly well-written, within the confines of the sentimental/romantic tradition of the time. I hope several of you will be reading it. It's not a heavy read at all, having the human interest of good drama or, some would say, melodrama.

A question that I would like to answer this second time through: Should it be an insult to call a black person an Uncle Tom? Does Uncle Tom in any significant way betray his race through subservience, or does he rather deserve the heroic status that readers of the period would have given him?
senSEYtional
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:evil: Correct me if I am wrong. Is this the book that changed the world of slavery? :appl:
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Robert Tulip

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senSEYtional wrote::evil: Correct me if I am wrong. Is this the book that changed the world of slavery? :appl:
Hi senSEYtional, welcome, thanks for this question. I hope you and others will read Uncle Tom's Cabin and share your thoughts on how it is relevant today. I am reading it and finding it brilliant.

There is a moral power in this book which you can well understand must have made President Lincoln focus on abolition as a goal of the civil war. So yes, this book was decisive for ending American slavery. The depictions of the various key characters, ranging from slave traders to owners to slaves, are very acute and moving, showing what a great evil slavery was, and how its influence still endures to pollute American culture even today with racial prejudice.
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DWill

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Robert Tulip wrote:
senSEYtional wrote::evil: Correct me if I am wrong. Is this the book that changed the world of slavery? :appl:
Hi senSEYtional, welcome, thanks for this question. I hope you and others will read Uncle Tom's Cabin and share your thoughts on how it is relevant today. I am reading it and finding it brilliant.

There is a moral power in this book which you can well understand must have made President Lincoln focus on abolition as a goal of the civil war. So yes, this book was decisive for ending American slavery. The depictions of the various key characters, ranging from slave traders to owners to slaves, are very acute and moving, showing what a great evil slavery was, and how its influence still endures to pollute American culture even today with racial prejudice.
You don't directly refer to the popular belief I wondered about: a quotation of Lincoln's, who upon meeting Harriet Beecher Stowe allegedly said something like, "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war." The key word is "allegedly," as Stowe herself would have been the only one able to report what Lincoln said, and she reported nothing resembling these words. In fact, the statement wasn't reported until over 30 years after the two met, in the year of Stowe's death in an Atlantic Monthly article. I offer this only with the thought that it's useful to distinguish the apocryphal from the factual. It is indeed difficult to imagine Lincoln saying this in Dec. 1862 or at any other point. My guess is that the proximate cause of the Civil War--the secession of the South--would have been uppermost in his mind, rather than a book that galvanized sentiment in the North against slavery, as important as that was. He would not have been inclined to see the book as the cause of the South's secession. Even Lincoln's own abolitionism, if we can call it that, emerged during the course of a difficult war which the South appeared capable of winning. The Emancipation Proclamation had a clear military objective, that of depriving the South of a good part of its labor force.

It isn't necessarily slavery that accounts for the persistence of prejudice against African Americans. When we look broadly at prejudice based on race and ethnicity, we find that many conditions other than enslavement encourage its origin and continuance. There was a chance that the country could have healed racially after the war, but in this case, neither North nor South was capable of pulling it off.
Last edited by DWill on Sun Oct 02, 2016 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Check In" here if you plan to join the "Uncle Tom's Cabin" discussion

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Checking in. DL'd it from the Gutenberg Project to Kindle, but that doesn't seem to be working too well. May have to buy it from Amazon, no biggie...

On edit: It costs only $0.99 on Amazon, so I DL'd that...
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I have been wanting to read this book for ages, and happy to have a reason to now! very excited to, as well.

Thankfully, my trusty kindle app found a copy for free. :clap:
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MissK wrote:I have been wanting to read this book for ages, and happy to have a reason to now! very excited to, as well.

Thankfully, my trusty kindle app found a copy for free. :clap:
Great--just start reading and tell us what you're thinking. Doesn't matter whether you end up liking the book or not.
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Re: "Check In" here if you plan to join the "Uncle Tom's Cabin" discussion

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Hi all. Just joined book talk and plan on reading and discussing UTC!
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