Harriet Beecher Stowe
“The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.” This quote by Harriet Beecher Stowe was an example of the heartaches she experienced and the wisdom she gained from those experiences. Stowe’s life was not trouble-free; she went through many difficult situations that helped her learn many things about her life, personally, and life in general. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s life experiences- discrimination, exhaustion, and loss- gave her the ability to relate emotionally to slaves which allowed her to write a book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, that affected public opinion by tugging at people’s emotions.
Stowe’s early life can be described by the word “subservience” (Adams 19). She was expected to do as she was told and help whenever and wherever she could. Stowe and her siblings were living with Lyman Beecher, their father. He was a bully of the worst stripe: a well intentioned and steadily complete bully (Adams 20). He had good intentions when he required a lot from his kids and reprimanded them when they disappointed him, but they did not understand that. To the children, it seemed like he had no good will at all. In some respects, this relationship was somewhat reminiscent of master’s relationship to his slaves; having high expectations and punishing them when the requirements were not met. This sort of uncertain start helped Stowe see what kind of hindrances she would be faced with during her life and that it was important to strive to do her best in every situation.
Harriet Beecher Stowe’s father often expressed grief that she was a girl and not a boy (Carlson 25). This was an example of the world’s view of women at that time. Women were discriminated against; society thought that gender determined a person’s abilities. This was similar to the way that the world saw African Americans. People believed that skin color determined a person’s capabilities. Stowe and blacks were stereotyped and were believed to be unable to form opinions, express opinions, or overcome the boundaries set before them. Also, slavery was often seen as acceptable because it was where blacks “belonged”. Likewise, society believed that it was a “woman’s natural, God-given employment” to be a domestic servant. These unfair mind-sets are what caused so many problems in that time.
Later in life, after she married Calvin Stowe, she became a mother. She loved her kids, but she struggled to keep up with her responsibilities as a wife and mom (Carlson 28). She was very busy! Frequent pregnancies and births left Stowe sick for long periods of time (Randolph 35). Childbirth was an extremely exhausting and draining event in every woman’s life. This hard work could be compared to the hard work that slaves were forced to do. Both were extremely difficult and strenuous. Nearly constant sickness and exhausting work contributed to the decline of Stowe’s mental and physical health. Stowe once said, “I feel no life, no energy, no...