Rezension zu "Uncle Tom's Cabin" von Harriet Beecher-Stowe
Uncle Tom's Cabin is a classic novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe first published in 1852. It condems slavery harshly by telling the fate of two slaves, Tom and Eliza, their families, masters and treatment.
Stowe's novel had a great impact, it is said to be one of the reasons for the American Civil War.
So far, so good. I read the unabridged English version of Uncle Tom's Cabin. There is quite a lot of slang spoken in the dialogues, so it took a while to get used to.
But that's not the reason I came to dislike the book.
Harriet Beecher Stowe was a devout Christian and preacher. This book felt like one long sermon right out of Sunday School. It has a lot of passages with preaching full of pathos. I dislike being preached at and I dislike the obtrusiveness of the author's religious message. So I started skipping those frequent passages with religious blathering and that is never a good sign for liking a book.
The characters were very stereotyped and while Stowe might have done this on purpose it just wasn't my cup of tea. Noble and humble Tom as well as Eva were so saint-like, it was too good to be true.
All the faithful Christians are ridiculously good, the evil ones as bad as can be and in between are a few little lost lambs, just waiting to be saved by Jesus aka Tom/Eva. O Hallelujah! The most authentic characters are paradoxically the quakers, maybe because they act out of conscience rather than preach about it.
I wondered if the author's main cause for condemning slavery was her fear of going to hell. Her main argument is that true Christians must act against slavery yet I missed a more „human“ aspect by simply saying that keeping slaves is dehumanizing.
Harriet Beecher Stowe not only generalizes a lot, she also patronizes the „African race“. Sentences like "Cooking being an indigenous talent of the African race" were harmless while others sounded racist to my ears. "The African, naturally patient, timid and unenterprising". Seriously?
What did I like? I liked George Harris better than Tom, because he wanted a decent life before death. I like the author's irony in those passages where she put her bible down for a few lines.
Other than that, I don't recommend this book. The prose is average, you don't miss anything if you haven't read it and there are probably better books about slavery. Two stars for its historical significance otherwise it would have been a one star rating.