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Posted on April 19th, 2012, by

We read a lot of books in our life.  Some of them we forget in a couple of days, others remind about themselves a couple of months or even years but there are books which influence our whole life and change our personalities. Such books are of great value because due to them we become what we are. It is obvious that the main aim of the book is to deliver its message to the readers and make it comprehensive. Sometimes the meaning of this message can be so important and meaningful that it changes the whole personality. In my case, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin has become such a book.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin, being written by Stowe, is considered to be one of the most powerful and meaningful books in the history of America. It is often called “an abolitionist’s Bible”ť. It is believed that this book was a push to the antislavery movement and the start of the struggle between the South and the East in the USA. Abraham Lincoln told Stowe: “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war”ť (Weinstein). The significance of this book cannot be understated for the American society, however, in this book every person from any corner of the world can find something for him: it glorifies eternal human values, such as dignity, kindness, feeling of sympathy, etc. The book delivers a very important message: all the people equal for God and they should respect and appreciate each other. No social rank or status can allow people to beat or to curse other people. Human life is  a gift presented by God and only God has a right to take it. We live in a civilized society and should have dignity to stay a human being, not a social animal with an unlimited power. Uncle Tom, the main character of the book, lives in accordance with these principles.

Uncle Tom is an African-American slave who sacrifices his life in the name of his enslaved friends. He is a Christian and believes in God’s ruling on the earth. “Although he is unjustly and ignorantly vilified by contemporary Black society, the character Uncle Toms is given a Christ like persona.  Tom forgives his oppressors, turns the other cheek to blows, blesses those who curse him, and prays for those who sin against him”ť (Rosenthal, 113). He is a specimen of a human virtue on the earth. It is difficult to be quite and patient when you are beaten and tortured by another human being. It is even more difficult and practically impossible not to be angry at such people and forgive them.

Only a person with a pure heart and strong fair in God and good human nature can act in such a way. Reading pages about Uncle Tom’s sufferings we cannot stay indifferent, we start realizing that we should not live as consumers on the earth, we should think about consequences of our actions and take into account other people who are not less worthy of living on this earth, as we all.

Uncle Tom’s Christian principles allows him to continue his life in the brutal world of slavery. He is a usual slave without any hope for future or power to change anything. However, his inner strength and assurance make him a real hero in the eyes of Black slaves, as well as white slave owners.

The absolute opposition to Uncle Tom, the anti-hero of the novel, is Simon Legree, a slave-dealer in the North. He is the main oppressor and torturer whose cruel actions cannot be regarded as human deeds. He is a plantation owner and has a great deal of slaves in his possession. He treats these slaves not even as animals, but as things. He is an example of cruelty and brutality in the world and Uncle Tom is a bright contrast to him.

Reading about such times and people you start rethinking your life and your actions. You start realizing that you should be thankful that you have parents, a possibility to be educated and just to live without any direct threat. In those times a person could be enslaved, separated from his family, treated as an animal, tortured and brutally beaten and finally killed. What is even more awful, it was a norm of life and the murderer was treated as a normal human being.

This book has changed my world view and my attitude to life forever. Now I appreciate every moment of my life and understand that my own life is a treasure itself. I have become more sympathizing and patient with other people. I learn to forgive other people even they treat me in a bad way. This book has learned me an important life lesson: we all are human beings and so must be always responsible for our actions and unfair attitude to other people. We must appreciate our and other people’s life that is the greatest value on the earth.

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