Due to its contribution towards the abolition of slavery, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin was undoubtedly a huge hit in the nineteenth century and continues to influence our society today. This essay, however, focuses on the essentialist feminism of the book and examines whether it becomes male-chauvinist sexist in doing so. When men of the era failed to step out to defend the damned race, a group of women, though seemingly timid and frail, act boldly out of their kind, soft hearts and take chances to preserve the humanity left in this society. To illustrate this point, this essay discusses two female characters of the book, Mrs. Shelby and Mrs. Bird, and the active roles they play in their household in fighting against slavery. The essay also analyzes how these female characters are able to exert feminine power while still retain traditional gender traits. Ideas such as “power in the kitchen” and “the silent male preachers” are drawn from Jane P. Tompkins’ essay, “Sentimental Power: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Politics of Literary History,” and Dawn Coleman’s essay, “The Unsentimental Woman Preacher of Uncle Tom’s Cabin” to emphasize this influential female power.
Zhou, Cidre Z.
"Power of the Weaker: Feminism in Uncle Tom's Cabin,"
The Criterion: Vol. 2019
, Article 10.
Available at: https://crossworks.holycross.edu/criterion/vol2019/iss1/10