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

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Uncle Tom's Cabin and Benito Cereno

Stowe herself had always thought that her novel depicted the favorable side f slavery, and the fact that she did so should have appeased the South. The typical Southern reaction, however, did not reflect such an awareness. Indeed, in the eyes f most contemporary Southerners (even those who had never read Uncle Tom's Cabin) Stowe's novel was an abomination, utterly false and therefore a full-fledged misrepresentation f the institution f slavery (Johnston 263).
Whereas, in one respect, Southern criticism regarding the veracity f Uncle Tom's Cabin was justified, most contemporary Southern readers f the novel failed to give Stowe the credit she obviously sought. Still, in both overt and subtle ways, Stowe had consciously attempted to appease the South. Like Melville's Benito Cereno, one such concession in Uncle Tom's Cabin, which has been overlooked by previous critics, is found in chapter 19 when Augustine St. Clare recounts to his wife Marie an incident in the past when he conquered an unsubmissive slave with kindness. He does this in response to Marie's complaint about a lazy slave her father had once owned who did not want to work.
A sensitive, kind, and effeminate man, St. Clare purchases from his brother Alfred an unruly slave named Scipio. ...Show more

Summary

The use f racial stereotypes adds credibility to the long-standing notion that both Stowe and Melville consciously made concessions to the South in Uncle Tom's Cabin and Benito Cereno. As Forrest Wilson has pointed out, "the kindest, most philanthropic, and most upright characters were, with some minor exceptions, all Southerners and slave-holders" (276)…
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