Uncle Tom's Cabin | Study Guide

Harriet Beecher Stowe

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Uncle Tom's Cabin | Chapter Summaries

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Timeline of Events

  • One day in early February

    Mr. Shelby sells Uncle Tom and Harry to slave trader Haley to pay off debts.

    Chapter 1
  • That night

    Eliza flees north with Harry.

    Chapter 5
  • The next day

    Haley chases Eliza and Harry, but Eliza successfully leaps across the Ohio River with Harry.

    Chapter 7
  • That night

    Senator and Mrs. Bird take in Eliza and Harry.

    Chapter 9
  • Within days

    Haley has claimed Uncle Tom and is headed to New Orleans to sell him at auction.

    Chapter 10
  • Around the same time

    George also runs away and encounters Mr. Wilson, who helps him on his way to Canada.

    Chapter 11
  • Weeks later

    Eliza, Harry, and George are reunited at the Quaker settlement near Canada.

    Chapter 13
  • Around the same time

    Augustine St. Clare buys Uncle Tom and takes him home to New Orleans.

    Chapter 14
  • A short time later

    Eliza, Harry, and George cross safely into Canada.

    Chapter 17
  • That summer

    Aunt Chloe goes to Louisville to earn money to buy back Uncle Tom, having heard from him.

    Chapter 21
  • Around the same time

    The St. Clare family goes to Lake Pontchartrain for the summer, where Eva dies.

    Chapter 26
  • Months later

    Augustine St. Clare dies from a stab wound in New Orleans.

    Chapter 28
  • Within weeks

    Uncle Tom is sold to Simon Legree, who also buys Emmeline and another woman.

    Chapter 30
  • Within weeks

    Tom, Cassy, and Emmeline have become friends, and the women plan to escape.

    Chapter 39
  • A short time later

    The women hide in the garret, and Tom is beaten to death for not revealing their plan.

    Chapter 40
  • Two days later

    George Shelby arrives to buy Uncle Tom back, but it is too late.

    Chapter 41
  • Within days

    George Shelby, Cassy, and Emmeline find George Harris's sister and learn Eliza is Cassy's daughter.

    Chapter 42
  • Several weeks later

    The Harrises are united with Emily and Cassy in Montreal, and all go to France.

    Chapter 43
  • Around the same time

    George Shelby frees all the Shelby slaves.

    Chapter 44

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Preface Harriet Beecher Stowe's opening remarks assert her belief that Christianity, supported by a humanistic movement in the a... Read More
Chapters 1–4 The novel opens one cold February morning in the parlor of the opulent Shelby home in Kentucky. Kind and refined Mr. A... Read More
Chapters 5–9 As the Shelbys prepare for bed on the night Mr. Shelby completes his transaction with Haley, it is clear he has not di... Read More
Chapters 10–13 The sad day has arrived when Uncle Tom will be carted off for sale. Tom comforts Chloe the best he can as she lovingly... Read More
Chapters 14–16 Chapter 14 opens with the author's sentimental musings about the mighty Mississippi River and the shameful freight of ... Read More
Chapter 17 Chapter 17 returns readers to the story of Eliza, George, and Harry, to the Halliday house where final preparations are ... Read More
Chapters 18–20 Chapter 18 returns readers to the St. Clare household, where Uncle Tom has been given more and more charge of the hous... Read More
Chapters 21–23 Back on the Shelby farm, Mrs. Emily Shelby has not forgotten her promise to keep track of Uncle Tom and try to buy him... Read More
Chapters 24–27 Two days after Augustine and Alfred's philosophical debate, Alfred and Henrique leave. Worn out from so much fun with ... Read More
Chapters 28–29 In the weeks following Eva's death Augustine understands how central his daughter was to his life. He begins regularly... Read More
Chapters 30–32 At the slave warehouse it becomes clear that all of New Orleans views St. Clare's treatment of his slaves as too easy.... Read More
Chapters 33–36 Uncle Tom quickly establishes himself as an excellent worker, but Legree does not like him, having "the native antipat... Read More
Chapter 37 Chapter 37 returns to the story of George, Eliza, and Harry, but focuses first on Tom Loker. Dorcas, who is nursing him ... Read More
Chapters 38–40 Back on the Legree plantation Uncle Tom has been facing physical suffering, forced to labor day after day before his h... Read More
Chapters 41–44 Uncle Tom holds on for two days after the fatal beating, and this is when young George Shelby arrives at Legree's plan... Read More
Chapter 45 Titled "Concluding Remarks," this final chapter is Stowe's last push to get readers to join her in proclaiming the evils... Read More
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