The novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin" is the most famous work of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Harriet Beecher Stowe was born in Litchfield on June 14th in 1811 and died in Hartford on July 1st in 1896 at the age of 85. Harriet was the seventh child of Roxanne und Lyman Beecher. "Uncle Toms Cabin was published for the first time as continuation novel in an anti-slavery newspaper. 1852 it was published as book and became quickly very popular, e.g. in the United States over 500.000 books were sold within only five years, additionally it was translated into over 20 languages. Uncle Tom's Cabin was often pointed out as release lever(=Auslöser) for the civil war. President Abraham Lincoln described Harriet Beecher Stowe once as \" the small woman who caused this big war". The novel strongly worked as propaganda, because it directed the international interest towards the slavery and expressed the deep dislike of the north against the slavery.
The action tells the story of the slave Tom who works for Mr Shelby. Uncle Tom is a strong man who is very pious. He has a small hut. Each Sunday, slaves come together in this hut and Tom encourages them because they were badly treated by their masters. He reads out from the Bible and preached of God and the world. However its master, Mr. Shelby, has many debts and so, he borrows money from a slave trader. Mr. Shelby even wants to give Tom his liberty back. But Mr. Shelby cannot pay his debts because of a bad harvest. Therefore, Mr. Shelby, who really likes his slave, had to sell his best worker reluctantly (=widerwillig). But Mr. Shelby promised to redeem(= zurückkaufen) Tom a day. The slave trader takes Tom to the south where you get more money for slaves But in the south there are almost no as nice masters as Mr. Shelby. However, on the navigation(=Schiffahrt), a small white girl called Eva falls off the ship "Pirate" into the water. Tom jumped into the water, too, in order to save the girl who can't swim. Tom is lucky. The father of the girl is rich and at once, he buys Tom. Tom now works as a coachman for Mr. Clare. Eva dies of tuberculosis because the medicine can't heal this disease in those days. Her last wish is to dismiss Tom in liberty. But this wish isn't realized. Mr. Clare dies of the injuries he gets during a fight. Now, Tom belongs to Miss Ophelia.
However, she has to sell Tom to reduce her debts. And now, he works for Mr. Skeggs, who is very cruel. It is said that no slave has been living more than 6 years with him. Tom is a good worker who works very quickly on the cotton plantation. But not each worker is so fast. You have to gather a special weight of cotton in the evening, otherwise, you get lashes(=Peitschenhiebe) by Mr.Skeggs. Tom never gets any lashes. But once, he helps a woman to get the weight. So the woman doesn't get any lashes. So, Tom gets lashes two times. However, the second time has bad consequences.
The son of Mr. Shelby, Robert, who has been looking for Tom for a long time. Now, he wants to redeem him. But it was too late. Tom dies of the consequences of the second lashes.
The book is written very difficultly, so I had to read the first chapters two times to understand the text. It's a very exciting book, where you are really displaced in the time of slavery. So, you get to know the injustice against the slaves.
Now, the story is over 150 years old, but it is still actual. Harriet Beecher Stowe´s description of the slavery in the southern states of the USA was read out as accusation(=Anklage) in those days. Today, it can be understood as a appeal for more tolerance. Although, Harriet Beecher Stowe used a very old stile for the present time, nobody should avoid this classic book of universal literature.