It is one of the key passages of the book .
Uncle Tom’s Cabin was the best-selling novel of the 19th century, and the second best-selling book of that century, following the Bible. In the first year after it was published, 300,000 copies of the book were sold in the United States alone. It fueled the abolitionist cause in the 1850s and sharpened...
Uncle Tom’s Cabin was the best-selling novel of the 19th century, and the second best-selling book of that century, following the Bible. In the first year after it was published, 300,000 copies of the book were sold in the United States alone. It fueled the abolitionist cause in the 1850s and sharpened regional differences and perspectives about slavery. The book’s impact was so great, that when Abraham Lincoln met its author Harriet Beecher Stowe at the start of the Civil War, he is purported to have declared, “So this is the little lady who made this big war.”
“‘I’m going there,’ she said, ‘to the spirits bright, Tom. I am going before long.’ Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Chap. XXIII, Harriet Beecher Stowe. Written for Charlotts Nichols.”
In the book, Eva, whose real name is Evangeline St. Clare, is the daughter of Augustine St. Clare. She enters the narrative when Uncle Tom is traveling via steamship to New Orleans to be sold, and he rescues the 5 or 6 year-old girl from drowning. Eva begs her father to buy Tom, and he becomes the head coachman at the St. Clare plantation. He spends most of his time with the angelic Eva, who constantly talks about love and forgiveness. Eventually Eva falls terminally ill and her death is one of the melodramatic high points of the novel. Before she dies, Eva makes her father promise to free all of his slaves. Eva gives each of the slaves a lock of her golden hair as a keepsake and begs them all to become Christians. When St. Clare dies unexpectedly before freeing the slaves, his wife sells the slaves at public auction. Uncle Tom is bought by the villainous Simon Legree.
In the moving culmination of the deathbed scene, Little Eva points to the heavens, and here Stowe picks up the text. Autograph Quotation Signed, March 30, 1894. “I’m going there,” she said, “to the spirits bright, Tom. I am going before long.” Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Chap. XXIII, Harriet Beecher Stowe. Written for Charlotts Nichols.
The deathbed scene is one of the key scenes in the book. It, wrote Prof. Jane Tompkins of Princeton, represents in miniature the structure of the whole novel.Â Tompkins also makes the point that Little Eva’s protracted death accomplishes what never comes to fruition during her life: the unification of all the members of the household in a community of Christian feeling. Another critic agrees that this scene is a ‘moment of transcendence’, where death is the equivalent not of defeat, but of victory.” An English scholar goes so far as to call the death of Eva a formative moment in 19th century literature. And engravings of the deathbed scene entitled “I am going there – were readily for sale at the time.
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