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English Essay

732 words - 3 pages

In Baldwin's view, protest novels are always the same which means that they are always sentimental which equate to them being dishonest and cruel. Baldwin indicated that "Sentimentality, the ostentatious parading of excessive and spurious emotion, is the mark of dishonesty, the inability to feel; the wet eyes of the sentimentalist betray his aversion to experience, his fear of life, his arid heart; and it is always, therefore, the signal of secret and violent inhumanity, the mask of cruelty". His essay then goes on and attack Harriet Beecher Stowe's protest novel written in the form of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Baldwin found the book unrealistic due to its level sentimentality, viciousness and chauvinistic depiction. "Uncle Tom is a very bad novel" Baldwin said. He found the novel incomplete and senseless, but full of sentimental dramas that compare it to Little Women. He noted that "Uncle Tom's Cabin is a very bad novel, having, in its self-righteous, virtuous sentimentality, much in common with Little Women". Baldwin felt that Harriet Beecher Stowe could have done something more with the novel, she could have answered questions that readers had especial readers of the 20th and 21st century. I believed that Baldwin felt that if she would have excluded some of the more dramatic sentimental and presented an explanation for the brutalities featured in the novel, Stowe would have completed a more "complete picture". "This is explained by the nature of Mrs. Stowe's subject matter, her laudable determination to flinch from nothing in presenting the complete picture; an explanation which falters only if we pause to ask whether or not her picture is indeed complete; and what construction or failure of perception forced her to so depend on the description of brutality - unmotivated, senseless - and to leave unanswered and unnoticed the only important question: what it was, after all, that moved her people to such deeds." To Baldwin, the depictions of characters in Uncle Tom's Cabin are racist. He stated that the only main characters in the book are George, Eliza and Uncle Tom. Baldwin goes on and explains how each of these...

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