Thursday, July 26, 2012

Slavery Through a Child's Eyes

Chapter XXI – Kentuck
When Chloe receives Tom’s letter, and he shares his anxiety about Mrs. Shelby raising the money to buy him back, Chloe suggests that Mrs. Shelby hire her out in order to earn the money; she finally agrees.  Again, the issue of marriage arises, and Mrs. Shelby has to actually argue the point that marriages are sacred, period, and it is cruel to separate couples from each other and their families.

Chapter XXII – “The Grass Withereth – the Flower Fadeth”
Tom is fittingly encouraged by the reply letter received from Mr. Shelby explaining how Chloe is earning money for his redemption and all that is going on at the farm.  It’s been two years since Tom has been with the St. Clares, and he and Eva spend much time reading Scripture together; she shares with him that she is going to heaven soon, as he notices that she has not seemed well.  Meanwhile, Eva reveals to her father her sadness toward slavery.

Uncle Tom and Little Eva, 1853.
Robert S. Duncanson

Chapter XXIII – Henrique
Henrique is St. Clare’s nephew, the eldest son of his twin brother, Alfred.  An incident occurs in which Henrique beats his servant, Dodo, even though Tom tries to intervene.  Eva scolds her cousin, Henrique, and he promises never to mistreat Dodo.  St. Clare and his brother discuss the issue of slavery after witnesses the incident: St. Clare is certain that, 
“Our system is educating them in barbarism and brutality.  We are breaking all humanizing ties, and making them brute beasts; and, if they get the upper hand, such we shall find them.”

Chapter XXIV – Foreshadowings
Eva’s health is certainly failing, and now we get a better view of slavery through a child’s eyes.  She tells Uncle Tom that if she could sacrifice her own life in order to “stop all this misery,” she would die for [the slaves].   She asks that her father free all his slaves and that he try to persuade people of the wrongs of slavery; and she asks him to promise her that Tom should have his freedom when she is gone.  Finally, in this moment, St. Clare’s heart is moved spiritually and he recalls all he has learned morally as a boy.

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