Monday, September 3, 2007

Uncle Tom's Cabin

Abraham Lincoln has been quoted as saying of Harriet Beecher Stowe, "So this is the little lady who made this big war." I thought to myself, Uncle Tom's Cabin must be a powerful book! I knew it was considered a classic, but one probably not read in the public schools, so a couple years ago my now DD16 and I set out to read aloud this incredible novel that divided a nation.

Upfront let me say we never finished the book. The story was compelling and griping. The characters were deep and it was easy to become emotionally involved in the tale. However, my daughter and I got completely bogged down in the slave dialect. I realize Miss Stowe was trying to be true to the culture, but it took so much energy and concentration to decipher the dialog we simply gave up. In retrospect I think it would have been a better silent read than read-a-loud. (At least in my opinion.)

I regretted not finishing the story, but DD16 went off to public school and that was the end of that. Well, maybe not. DD16 is back home now, and while I wanted to finish the story, I really didn't want to get bogged down again. So, I did what any self-respecting homeschool mom would do *smirk*.....I borrowed the video from the library.

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There are many video renditions of Uncle Tom's Cabin. This is the one I happened to get from our public library. There may be better versions available, but I really feel this one is worth watching. (Avery Brooks did a tremendous job as Tom.)

In 2007 most of us have had some glimpse of the horrors of slavery. We've read of Harriet Tubman. We've seen or read Roots. We've read or watched Gone with the Wind. We've been to Civil War sites. We've read Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. But what of those who lived before the Civil War? What of those who really had no idea how horrific slavery was? I can easily see where Uncle Tom's Cabin would spark heated discussions, evoke extreme emotion, and widen the chasm between abolitionists and slave holders. Considering the role this story placed in American History, everyone should either read the book or at least watch a rendering of this tragic story of slavery and the triumph of Christian character.


Christine said...

I have been trying to decide what classic I'll read next. Now I know!!

KarenW said...

We have this book and I am wanting to include it in our studies. It just seems so long!

Barb said...

Barb said . . .
I had always wanted to read this book ever since hearing about it in history in elementary school, but I could never find it at the library. Last year I received it for my birthday and my 2 highschool homeschooled sons and I read it as our first classic of the year. We too waded through the dialect, but oh, it was worth the wading. The characters are so rich and their thoughts so deep and so challenging. Our faith was challenged. What a story about a genuine relationship with the living God and the stark contrast with religiosity. There were some sentences I just mulled over and learned from. Thanks for what you wrote about it. It was interesting to see how you were drawn to this book just as I was. Blessings to you and yours.