Uncle Tom's Cabin

- By Harriet Beecher Stowe
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Harriet Elisabeth Beecher Stowe (/stoʊ/; June 14, 1811 – July 1, 1896) was an American author and abolitionist. She came from the Beecher family, a famous religious family, and became best known for her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), which depicts the harsh conditions experienced by enslaved African Americans. The book reached an audience of millions as a novel and play, and became influential in the United States and in Great Britain, energizing anti-slavery forces in the American North, while provoking widespread anger in the South. Stowe wrote 30 books, including novels, three travel memoirs, and collections of articles and letters. She was influential both for her writings and for her public stances and debates on social issues of the day. Harriet Elisabeth Beecher was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, on June 14, 1811.[1] She was the sixth of 11 children [2] born to outspoken Calvinist preacher Lyman Beecher. Her mother was his first wife, Roxana (Foote), a deeply religious woman who died when Stowe was only five years old. Roxana's maternal grandfather was General Andrew Ward of the Revolutionary War. Her siblings included a sister, Catharine Beecher, who became an educator and author, as well as brothers who became ministers: including Henry Ward Beecher, who became a famous preacher and abolitionist, Charles Beecher, and Edward Beecher.[3]

Uncle Tom's Cabin

 
 
1. Mr. and Mrs. Shelby had retired to their room for the night. He was lounging in a large easy chair, looking over some letters that had come in the afternoon mail, and she was standing before her mirror, brushing out the complicated braids and curls in which Eliza had arranged her hair; for, noticing her pale cheeks and haggard eyes, she had excused her attendance that night, and ordered her to bed. The employment, naturally enough, suggested her conversation with the girl in the morning; and turning to her husband, she said, carelessly,
 
2. ”By the by, Arthur, who was that low-bred fellow that you lugged in to our dinner-table today?”
 
3. “Haley is his name,” said Shelby, turning himself rather uneasily in his chair, and continuing with his eyes fixed on a letter.
 
4. “Haley! Who is he, and what may be his business here, pray?”
 
5. “Well, he’s a man that I transacted some business with, last time I was at Natchez,” said Mr. Shelby.
 
6. ”And he presumed on it to make himself quite at home, and call and dine here, ay?”
 
7. ”Why, I invited him; I had some accounts with him,” said Shelby.
 
8. “Is he a trader?” said Mrs. Shelby, noticing a certain embarrassment in her husband’s manner.
 
9. ”Why, my dear, what put that into your head?” said Shelby, looking up.
 
10. “Nothing,—only Eliza came in here, after dinner, in a great worry, crying and taking on, and said you were talking with a trader, and that she heard him make an offer for her boy—the ridiculous little goose!”
 
11. ”She did, hey?” said Mr. Shelby, returning to his paper, which he seemed for a few moments quite intent upon, not perceiving that he was holding it bottom upwards. “It will have to come out,” said he, mentally; “as well now as ever.”
 
12. ”I told Eliza,” said Mrs. Shelby, as she continued brushing her hair, “that she was a little fool for her pains, and that you never had anything to do with that sort of person. Of course, I knew you never meant to sell any of our people,—least of all, to such a fellow.”
 
13. “Well, Emily,&rdquo, said her husband, “so I have always felt and said; but the fact is that my business lies so that I cannot get on without. I shall have to sell some of my hands.”
 
14. “To that creature? Impossible! Mr. Shelby, you cannot be serious.”
 
15. ”I’m sorry to say that I am,” said Mr. Shelby. “I’ve agreed to sell Tom.”
 
16. “What! Our Tom?—that good, faithful creature!—been your faithful servant from a boy! O, Mr. Shelby!—and you have promised him his freedom, too,—you and I have spoken to him a hundred times of it. Well, I can believe anything now,—I can believe now that you could sell little Harry, poor Eliza’s only child!” said Mrs. Shelby, in a tone between grief and indignation.
 
17. “Well, since you must know all, it is so. I have agreed to sell Tom and Harry both, and I don’t know why I am to be rated, as if I were a monster, for doing what everyone does every day.”
 
18. ”But why, of all others, choose these?” said Mrs. Shelby. “Why sell them, of all on the place, if you must sell at all?”
 
19. “Because they will bring the highest sum of any,—that’s why. I could choose another if you say so. The fellow made me a high bid on Eliza if that would suit you any better,” said Mr. Shelby.
 
20. “The wretch!” said Mrs. Shelby, vehemently.
 
21. “Well, I didn’t listen to it, a moment,—out of regard to your feelings, I wouldn’t;—so give me some credit.”
 
22. “My dear,” said Mrs. Shelby, recollecting herself, “Forgive me. I have been hasty. I was surprised and entirely unprepared for this;—but surely, you will allow me to intercede for these poor creatures. Tom is a noble-hearted, faithful fellow, even if he is black. I do believe, Mr. Shelby, that if he were put to it, he would lay down his life for you.”
 
23. “I know it,—I dare say;—but what’s the use of all this?—I can’t help myself.”

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Word Lists:

Haggard : looking exhausted and unwell, especially from fatigue, worry, or suffering

Vehemently : in a forceful, passionate, or intense manner; with great feeling

Intercede : intervene on behalf of another

Braid : threads of silk, cotton, or other material woven into a decorative band for edging or trimming garments

Mentally : in a manner relating to the mind

Brush : an implement with a handle, consisting of bristles, hair, or wire set into a block, used for cleaning or scrubbing, applying a liquid or powder to a surface, arranging the hair, or other purposes

Faithful : remaining loyal and steadfast

Attendance : the action or state of going regularly to or being present at a place or event

Embarrassment : a feeling of self-consciousness, shame, or awkwardness

Complicated : consisting of many interconnecting parts or elements; intricate

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Rating: A

Words: 810

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