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Uncle Tom's Cabin and Surfacing - Book Report/Review Example

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Uncle Tom's Cabin and Surfacing

In contrast,
Stowe would show the transcendent in the ordinary life through the singularity of the individual. For Stowe, the individuals are unique not because they are very different from one another but because they are alike in being unique types of the same spiritual truth. Stowe presents a sentimental type of person, which is therefore presenting a taxonomic view of the individual. The individual mirrors a set of personal emotions which convery universal truths and moral claims that is replete with the complex and contrasting influences of the social, religious, and political discourses.
In the opening scene of Uncle Tom's cabin, Stowe presents the common figure of "the gentleman" and highlights the role of Haley from the given group. Haley was described as a crude person with a gaudy vest with many colors, coarse speech and gaudy hands and a free and easy speech. In her writing, she emphasized the capacity of physical appearances to influence the reader. She explained how a commercial transaction had penetrated the domestic front and she had showed how these transactions threaten the very moral and social levels that make one social group distinct from another. The novel showed the fact that Tom is a Christian and has never cheated Shelby. The exceptional moral stature of Tom makes him a valuable asset on the slave market. Stowe also described the New England household which is characterized by incessant and uninterrupted household work. Her specific descriptions of the novel's characters revealed a strong ethic of self-reliance and hard work as shown by the character of Ophelia.
Stowe also features the first of Christian virtues: cleanliness. After one of the characters of Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ophelia, changes the young girl's shirt, the sight of Topsy's whip-scarred back changes Ophelia's hardened rectitude and racism. The description of the welts at Topsy's back showed the predatory culture of slavery. Topsy shows the effort of her race to please its masters as she dances and mimics various voices, unique facial expressions, and clear gestures to make the others amused. The detailed discussion and space that Stowe gives to Topsy and Ophelia in the middle of the novel, shows the novel's highly sentimental emphasis. The characters of Tom, Eva, and Eliza exhibited their sentimental natures by heroic action, and characters like Mr. Bird or even Tom Loker change back to their sentimental natures under feminine influence. The interaction of the characters, Topsy and Ophelia, changes radically in order to unite new and sympathetic identities.
Atwood presents Surfacing with great literary style as she attempts to project the motif of transformation and positive images of women. She also favors the good image of women in the fairy tales. The process of metamorphosis and the presence of female protagonists with intelligence and magic powers are the most essential parts of Surfacing. The role of "Margaret the Magician" showed that Atwood had resorted to sex inversion in the process of incorporating the loup-garou motif to her own novel. The traditional loup-garou story makes use of a male protagonist. In addition. the loup-garou may be an animal or a tree. Moreover, in Atwood's novel, there is a reference to abortion. In contrast, Stowe did not tackle abortion in her novel. The narrator's ...Show more

Summary

Harriet Beecher Stowe writes about the ugly face of slavery in the United States. It is a heavy topic to tackle and she has done it well. In contrast, Margaret Atwood is interested in topics which feature fairytale and folklore. In her work, Surfacing, Atwood reveals her brand of literary genius.
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