YMMV / Uncle Tom's Cabin

  • Complete Monster: Simon Legree is a chilling reminder of the evils of slavery in human form. Legree is brutal to his slaves, working them to death because he considers it a financial boon to himself. It's also made clear he'd do it solely for fun. Legree endeavors to break their spirits and make them despair as he breaks their bodies and minds. Legree is a torturer, rapist and murderer whose only frustration is the good-hearted slave Tom will simply refuse to break, spurring Legree on to greater cruelties to force his submission.
  • Cowboy BeBop at His Computer: The term "Uncle Tom" comes from the minstrel show version, written by people who had nostalgia for the slave trade. This has led people who cannot be bothered to read a book or at least look it up in an encyclopedia or Wikipedia before forming an opinion about it, to assume the book is an apologia for slavery.
  • Fair for Its Day: The book is an example in regard to Unfortunate Implications—the blacks are caricatures, but they're at least treated as human beings, and the whole point of the novel was to condemn slavery. When released, the novel outraged the Southerners, and an entire genre was created to respond to it. Over the years, supporters of slavery created In-Name-Only adaptions of the story that used the worst of the Blackface caricatures. It was these characterizations that stuck in the public's consciousness and gave rise to the concept of the "Uncle Tom" (the black man who was subservient to white people and was seen as a "sell out" to his own race). The book's Uncle Tom character was anything but the stereotype: he was killed for adamantly defying his cruel owner in order to ensure freedom for some fellow slaves.
  • Funny Moments: Yes, there's one of these in the whole drama. More exactly, the extremely sly and tricky antics that the Shelby slaves use to delay the slave trader who purchased Harry and Tom so they can help Eliza run away with little Harry.
    • Ophelia's argument with the cook, Dinah, pitting her stereotypical New England sense of order and systems against Dinah's (also stereotypical) slapdash methods.
  • Heartwarming Moments: The reunion of the family at the end.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • The phrase "sold down the river" is a metaphor for betrayal in modern American English, but most modern Americans don't know its origin.
      • The term was also used before the book; in fact, the modern map of Washington, D.C. (the part south of the Potomac being cut off) comes from when Washington abolished slavery, and those districts seceded. Today, the old slave market is now a farmer's market. Since going down the river was to an area which, if nothing else, made it more difficult to leave the United States, yeah.
    • Another common idiom that came from the book: as noted in That Other Wiki, the minor character Topsy "professes ignorance of both God and a mother, saying 'I s'pect I growed. Don't think nobody never made me.'" The phrase "grew like Topsy" is still sometimes used as a synonym for rapid or unplanned growth.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: Not many people would claim to have read the book. It is widely known though that there was intense controversy of its publishing, particularly in years leading up to the The American Civil War.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: The anti-slavery message isn't exactly subtle and kind of dumbed down. However, this was a time when at least a large minority supported slavery and actually deluded themselves into thinking that it was best for black people. Effective, non-subtle, widespread anti-slavery propaganda was badly needed.

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