Color Blindness In Uncle Tom's Cabin

1092 words - 4 pages

Color Blindness in Uncle Tom's Cabin

 
    In the 19th Century, the criteria used to determine the individual's social status would be seen as superficial and inhuman in today's society. In Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Stowe clearly describes a community where the individual's social status is created more by the color of the skin than by his own personal values. Furthermore, Stowe defies the societal belief by giving a "white inside" to a black character, Uncle Tom.

 

      Even if Uncle Tom's Cabin is considered a racist novel, it helps the reader having a concrete vision of the gap between Whites and Blacks. In her book, Stowe emphasizes the privileges encounter by white people over black color skin people. The first clear illustration of this statement is given by Eliza's escape. In this scene, the reader is likely to see her being caught by her Master rather than her escaping from him. In the reality, a slave woman carrying a little kid with her had a little chance to escape in this time of strong slavery. But then, Stowe comforts the reader by giving Eliza a reason to be fine: "the well-know kindness of the family would be of itself a blind of suspicion, as making it an unlikely supposition that she could be a fugitive" (2487). At this point of the scene, the reader is left either convinced by the argument, or a little doubtful about the situation. But then, Stowe gives the ultimate argument for a successful escape by saying that: " As she was so white as not to be known as of colored lineage... and her child was white also, it was much easier for her to pass on unsuspected" (2487.) Here, Stowe clearly supports the evidence of the privileges of being white looking. Yet, it doesn't appear that the argument comes from Eliza's consciousness but more from Stowe's. Eliza hopes to be able to escape because of the kindness of her family, but Stowe then, interferes to confirm to the reader that Eliza was going to be fine because she was of white lineage. As a parallelism, one finds the same pattern in George's fugue. When he enters the hotel, nobody seems to notice him for the fugitive he is suppose to be. Then, as for Eliza, George explains his chances of escape: " I'm pretty well disguised, I fancy ... I don't answer to the advertisement at all" (2494.) By this quote, the reader clearly sees the ignorance of George about the fact that looking like a white could be a chance. George seems to consider his chances to escape by the way he is disguised. Then, as for Eliza, Stowe adds her personal vision by telling the reader that it is more because "George was, by his father's side, of white descent" (2494), that he hadn't been caught by his master. Stowe seems to show the reader that slaves weren't really aware of their chance of being of white color, but that it was determinant of their destiny,...

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