Uncle Tom's Cabin

Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn" as a Literary Response to Harriette Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin"

When Mark Twain wrote The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn after the Civil War, it was in part a response to Harriet Beecher Stowe's pre-Civil War novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin. While supporting many of Stowe's claims and motives, Twain also found fault in several aspects of her writing. For example, Twain undoubtedly agreed with Stowe's anti-slavery attitude, as well as her depiction of a moral and gentle black man triumphing over the evils of society. However, judging from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, it seems that Twain disagreed with Stowe's use of the cult of domesticity, religion, modification of language, and her ultimate hopes for blacks after they were granted freedom.

The similarities and differences between Stowe and Twain appear in their respective characterizations of Tom and Jim. In Chapter 26 of Uncle Tom's Cabin, when little Eva is on her deathbed, Stowe writes the following portrait of Tom, who is at her side: "Tom had his master's hands between his own; and with tears streaming down his dark cheeks, looked up for help where he had always been used to look. 'Pray that this may be cut short!' said St. Clare, - 'this wrings my heart.' 'Oh, bless the Lord!...

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