Uncle Tom’S Cabin And The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn Essay
Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin was raised in a very religious family which influenced her writing style (History.com Staff). Mark Twain, author of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, was skeptical of religion and portrayed that in his book through the character Huckleberry Finn (History.com Staff). Harriet Beecher Stowe demonstrates that religion is an important part of her character’s lives, while Mark Twain questions the validity of religion.In Stowe’s book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, many people who live in the southern states used the Christian Bible to justify their use of slavery.
For example, “It’s undoubtedly the intention of Providence that the African race should be servants, –kept in a low condition” (Stowe 105). This quote was said by a member of the church and the Bible explicitly states that African Americans are made for slavery. Southerners would use this ideology when somebody from the free states would question their morality. Since Southern Christians were just following what the Bible said, they told themselves they would be going to heaven and slaves would be going to hell. Not all Southerners believed in that type of ideology though. Some thought the Bible was interpreted wrong and that slavery was unjust, but still had slaves. Mrs. Shelby, from Uncle Tom’s Cabin said, “Ministers can’t help the evil, perhaps, –can’t cure it, any more than we can, –but defend it!–it always went against my common sense” (Stowe 30). Mrs. Shelby talks about how she had just heard a minister claim slavery was okay since it was in the Bible, but she knew better than to trust him. Another character from Uncle Tom’s Cabin who was very religious was Tom. Tom would keep a Bible on him at all times and had his masters read it to him. He thought that he would go to heaven because he was a very devout Christian and followed what the Bible said. Tom believed that African Americans who happened to be slaves had as much of a chance of going to heaven as any white person.
When Tom was on Simon Legree’s plantation, he had almost lost his faith until he realized that he was so close to Jesus and heaven. Tom said, “I will hold on to the Lord, and put his commands before all, –die or live; you may be sure on’t. Mas’r Legree, I ain’t a grain afeard to die. I’d as soon die as not. Ye may whip me, starve me, burn me, –it’ll only send me sooner where I want to go” (Stowe 322). This powerful quote by Tom suggests that his faith is so strong and that nothing can stop him from going to heaven, not even Legree. The St. Clare family from Uncle Tom’s Cabin is another example of how religion affects the characters in Stowe’s book. Augustine St. Clare did not consider himself a Christian because he did not help out those in need. He believed he was not a Christian because he owned slaves and that those with slaves should not be allowed to call themselves Christian. When describing his Christian beliefs he said, “…I think no man can consistently profess it without throwing the whole weight of his being against this monstrous system of injustice that lies at the foundation of all our society; and, if need be, sacrificing himself in the battle” (Stowe 266). Since St. Clare has taken the steps to set his slaves free and help the poor, he is not a Christian.
After his daughter, Eva, dies he does become more caring by trying to get Tom his freedom. He also tried to help two men, but that eventually got him killed. In Twain’s book, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the main character, Huckleberry Finn, had the opposite views as Stowe’s characters. After Finn’s adventures with Tom Sawyer, Finn was sent to live with Ms. Watson. She tried to teach him about religion, but he did not find it very relatable. When Ms. Watson was making him read the Bible, he said, “…but by-and-by she let it out that Moses had been dead a considerable long time, so then I didn’t care no more about him; because I don’t take no stock in dead people” (Twain 2). Finn did not like thinking about the past, he was more about living in the moment.Finn also struggled throughout the book with what was right and wrong.
When Jim had been taken to the Phelps’ plantation, Huck Finn tried to pray and then write a letter to Ms. Watson saying where Jim had run away to. He couldn’t pray because he would have been lying to himself and to God, and according to Finn, “You can’t pray a lie –I found that out” (Twain 161). After giving up trying to pray, he realized how such a good friend Jim had been to him and how Jim didn’t have anybody else except Finn because his wife and children had been sold to New Orleans. Huckleberry Finn then decided to save Jim from the Phelps’ so Jim could finally be free. Finn realized this went against what the Bible said, but didn’t care. He said he would gladly go to hell and, “take up wickedness again, which was in my line” (Twain 162). Finn willingly renounces his religion to help save his friend, Jim, from slavery. Both Stowe and Twain showed that their characters views on religion had an impact on how they viewed the subject of slavery and morality.
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