Uncle Tom's Cabin

Effects of Syntax in Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom’s Cabin is powerful not only because of its moving plot, but also because of several literary tools used by Harriet Beecher Stowe to accentuate the evils of slavery. In the book, Stowe contrasts a detached and sarcastic tone with personal side-notes to the reader in order to show traditional opinions of slavery while begging the reader to see the plight of the slaves. Stowe accentuates the dialects of characters in the book to show social position and the effects of oppression on these slaves.

One of the effective literary devices Stowe uses is a dry and seemingly objective tone for much of the story, as detached as it would be were she reporting a “case study.” She often uses bold generalizations regarding one race or another, then later questions her own generalizations in a plea to the reader for sympathy. She injects a fair amount of sarcasm into these sweeping statements, which shows she does not truly believe her broad generalizations, as in this passage when Tom finds that the slave trader Haley has sold a woman’s young son without her knowledge: “To him, it looked like something unutterably horrible and cruel, because, poor, ignorant black soul! He had not learned to generalize, and to take enlarged views.“...

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