Discussion Questions: Uncle Tom’s Cabin

December 1, 2009 at 12:10 am 5 comments

Here’s the third LT Classics Challenge Discussion Questions post! If you have no idea what I am talking about, please wander on over to the LT Classics Challenge Page. Remember, those who participate in at least one discussion during the Challenge are entered in December’s drawing.

Ann Douglas argues in her introduction to the Penguin edition that Uncle Tom’s Cabin is ‘profoundly feminist.’ In what ways do women display their power in this novel? How much power do they have in comparison to the men?

Harriet Beecher Stowe has been accused of being racist, portraying her African-American in exaggeratedly passive and stereotypical ways. Is this true, in your opinion? Is it fair to call her racist considering this work’s historical context?

Stowe was the daughter of a minister and surrounded by religious leaders her whole life. However, she struggled with the question of whether slaves and former slaves could accept a Christianity which justified slavery by quoting Scripture, and this tension comes out in her work. Does she resolve this issue within her novel, and if so, how?

I’m really enjoying this book, and I hope anyone who’s following is too! Discussion will be Thursday.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Corey  |  December 1, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Hmmm…I’ve never heard this book described as “feminist.” Interesting!

    Reply
    • 2. KT  |  December 1, 2009 at 12:09 pm

      A COMMENT! WHOOOOO!

      *ahem*

      Yes, it’s quite feminist! Sort of. For its time. As read by Ann Douglas, who wrote her introduction in the 70’s. Anyway, that question will give me the excuse to write about women and domesticity, which is always my favorite topic. :D

      Reply
      • 3. Corey  |  December 1, 2009 at 3:27 pm

        :D I’ve been hanging back since I’m not reading along (*feels shame*) and I hoped others who are would come forth and comment, but you’ve been posting some really great questions!

        I’m so surprised about the feminism angle to it. When I have the time (ah, sweet, sweet January), I’ll have to give it a go.

        Reply
      • 4. KT  |  December 1, 2009 at 11:37 pm

        No worries about not reading along! Not everyone has my copious spare time :P I’m glad my questions are at least intriguing, though!

        Yeah, I’m digging the feminism way more than the race thing, especially since Stowe seems to be spending an awful lot of time with her white characters for an abolitionist novel. This is not so much a book about slaves as it is about how white people dealt with the issue of slavery.

        Reply
      • 5. Corey  |  December 2, 2009 at 7:28 am

        Very interesting difference. Everything you hear about the book is about the black perspective, so it is remarkable that that isn’t really the focus of the book! So on my reading list.

        Reply

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