Univocal Narrative in Uncle Tom's Cabin

Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin is a slave narrative. Without any doubt it can be said that it portrays the sufferings thrown upon the black slaves by their white master. By portraying the sufferings and misery faced by slaves in the south, Stowe makes us to be actively serious about the issues like slavery and racism.


Harriet Beecher Stowe



Harriet Beecher Stowe not only shows the situation in which the slaves are dehumanized by white masters, but also, how socially shocking and heart-rending has become the evil of slavery. By dramatizing the gloomy effect of slavery Stowe constantly emphasizes that slavery is an evil. She means to say that slavery is a stigma in society. It is a curse on humanity. It should be uprooted. It must be abolished. The society must not accommodate the practice of slavery, according to her. Since slavery dehumanizes humanity, we should not make allowance for it. Since it corrupts and contaminates the human soul, it is a matter of shame to practice it. Since slavery undermines the foundations of social institution and virtuous value like marriage and motherhood, it has become necessary to abolish it. Believing in Stowe, there is every reason to say that slavery is an evil. Hence it must-be stamped out from society.

Uncle Tom's Cabin is a slave narrative because it foregrounds the misery and pathetically torturous plight of the slaves. Moreover, it is a slave narrative of abolition because it makes us cautions enough to abolish slavery. Doubtless, Uncle Tom's Cabin is a slave narrative. For good measure it is a univocal slave narrative. Unlike, Toni Morrison's Beloved, Uncle Tom's Cabin moves round the single (Univocal) theme of black suffering. Toni Morison's Beloved is also a slave narrative. But Beloved represents multiple voices of black slaves who were displaced, who were brutalized to near-death, who were raped, who died in Middle passage, who escaped from the south and scattered across the north. Beloved represents the voices of those black slaves who live in the world of spirit and ghost. Beloved represents the countless voices of black slaves tortured timelessly by their monstrous white-master. Since Beloved represents multiple and multifarious voices of slaves, it has been regarded as multi-vocal slave narrative.

Unlike Toni, Morrison's Beloved, Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin appears as univocal slave narrative. The novel Uncle Tom's Cabin is univocal because it aims at expressing the only one voice of Uncle Tom's suffering. Along with the progression of the novel, Stowe continues to foreground the suffering of Uncle Tom. Uncle Tom's suffering is foregrounded in such a way that it touches our heart. Uncle Tom's religious capacity to render good for evil is so highlighted that we could not help admiring him.- Two things are done by Stowe in ' Uncle Tom's Cabin' one is the foregrounding of Tom's growing misery and torture thrown upon him by his white master. The other is the exhibition of Uncle Tom's moral superiority. The starting journey of Tom from Mr. Shelby's house to the house of Simon Legree's house is the journey about Tom's inner moral progress.

Apart from the voice of the suffering slaves, there is no crucial voice in Uncle Tom's Cabin. There is no other voice than this single voice of suffering. Moreover, this univocal voice of suffering, the development of the plot is also chronological. Unlike the postmodern method of plotting in the narrative of Beloved, Uncle Tom' Cabin follows the chronology. A single voice is elaborated and presented chronologically in Uncle Tom's cabin. Hence it is a univocal slave narrative, and its primary focus is directed towards the touching and heart rending portrayal of realism regarding the plight of black slaves in the south.