Uncle Tom's Cabin | Study Guide

Harriet Beecher Stowe

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Uncle Tom's Cabin | Chapter 45 | Summary

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Summary

Titled "Concluding Remarks," this final chapter is Stowe's last push to get readers to join her in proclaiming the evils of slavery. She begins by saying that the characters and events are based on real-life stories and gives details of several examples. She then attempts to mollify her Southern readers with these words: "nobility, generosity, and humanity ... in many cases characterize individuals at the South."

Stowe explains that it was the Fugitive Slave Law that finally pushed her to write the novel. Her outrage outweighed what she says was previously a response that made it "too painful" to explore the cruelties of slavery. She appeals directly to Southerners to join her in raising their voices. Her next appeal is to all Americans, especially those in free states, to "feel right" by having the clear conscience that can only come when slavery is ended. Finally, Stowe appeals to all Christians to pray for an end to slavery.

Stowe makes it clear that education is the way to lift enslaved people up. She gives specific examples of how former slaves living in Cincinnati have been able, through education and training, to become productive, important members of society. With soaring prose she ends her remark with Christian principles, saying "repentance, justice, and mercy" are the only things that can save the nation.

Analysis

All of Stowe's education, principles, and experiences are brought to bear in these final pages. Readers see a Christian woman, enlightened by a classical education and knowledge of national and world events, who has used her storytelling skills to present the facts about the evils of slavery. Even though the book is full of sentimental language and overly emotional narrative pleas, Stowe has done it all for a clear, singular purpose: she is calling for the immediate abolition of all slavery.

Readers might find Stowe's tone here preachy, and indeed she is preaching to readers. She warns that divine judgment and punishment will follow continued inaction. She reminds people who call themselves Christians of their duty to become passionate about ending the brutal institution of slavery. She appeals specifically to mothers to recognize the evils of splitting up families. Finally, she calls for equality for all Americans, exhorting readers to live up to the principles on which the nation was founded.

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