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Harriet Beecher Stowe, Henry David Thoreau and the Voices of the Oppressed

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Henry David Thoreau and the Voices of the Oppressed

There have been many writers who dedicated much of their work towards representing the voices of the oppressed. Among them are Harriet Beecher Stowe and Henry David Thoreau. Although these authors were dedicated to the same cause they approached the subject from their own perspective, reflecting on an issue that was relevant to their position in life. Their literature was used to address, or in some cases attack, problems within society such as race, equality, and gender. The voices of Stowe, and Thoreau were used as an instrument in representing the injustices of those who had no one else to protect them. Oddly enough, this protection was from the very government which declared “equal rights” for all men.

Harriet Beecher Stowe is perhaps best known for her work entitled Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a heart-wrenching story about the treatment and oppression of slaves. Uncle Tom’s Cabin brings to life the evils of slavery and questions the moral and religious values of those who condoned or participated in such a lifestyle. While the factual accuracy of this work has been criticized by advocators of both slavery and abolition it is widely believed that the information contained was drawn from Stowe’s own life experiences (Adams 62). She was the seventh child and youngest daughter in her family. She was only four years old when her mother died, which left the young Harriet Beecher little protection from her “Fatherâs rugged character and doctrinal strictness” (Adams 19). To further complicate matters she was aware that her father preferred she had been a boy. According to Adams, although Stoweâs childhood was not entirely unhappy she would never forget…

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…n Wilderness is Thoreau.” Henry David Thoreau: Studies and Commentaries. Ed. Walter Harding et al. Rutherford: Fairleigh Dickenson UP, 1972. 19.

Slavery Source: “Biographical ketch of the Authoress.” Stowe, Harriet Beecher: Uncle Tomâs emancipation, earthly care and heavenly discipline; and other tales and sketches. 1853. fiche E441.S645 no.354, card 1. xx.

Stanton, Elizabeth Cady. “Declaration of Sentiments.” The Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Paul Lauter et al. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co. ,1998. 2035.

Stowe, Harriet Beecher. “Uncle Tomâs Cabin.” 1852. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Paul Lauter et al. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1998. 2325, 2326.

Thoreau, Henry David/ “Resistance to Civil Disobedience.” 1849. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Paul Lauter et al. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1998. 2090, 2094.

Role of the Quakers in Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

The Quakers and Uncle Tom’s Cabin

In this paper, I will examine the choice of using the Quakers as the angelic figures that become the saviors for the black race during the slave movement in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. While examining this topic, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s background of Puritanism becomes the focus for her motivation to change the world around her and her strict discipline of keeping spiritual values as part of her daily existence. The next stage to be discussed is her conversion from conservative Calvinist views to liberal ideals of social reform. This reform captures the spirit of Transcendentalism, the idea of the individual as a divine being changing society to meet with those ideals. Finally, I will touch on the belief of the Quakers and their history and how they became the model of godliness that is portrayed in Stowe’s novel.

In the Haggadah, God creates the world by his word, the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet descending from the crown of God engraved with a pen of flaming fire on the mind of Man (Barnstone 15). Many great writers strive to tap into this inspiration of divine light or intellectual genius to produce works of literary art. The written word from these writers possessed enough power to start revolutions, change public sentiment, and alter the rational thinking of the times. One such writer that changed historical events during the American Renaissance is Harriet Beecher Stowe. Her literary masterpiece, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, caused such enlightenment of the general public to push the United States into Civil War to emancipate the black race from the bonds of slavery. The main source of inspiration for her writings comes from her own personal experiences of life and the deeply…

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…y in the end.

Works Cited

Barnstone, Willis. The Other Bible. New York; Harper

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