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Characters / Uncle Tom's Cabin

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Main Slave Characters

    Uncle Tom 
The titular hero of the novel. He's a slave that converted to Christian belief and never loses his faith even under the worst conditions he's put in.
  • Actual Pacifist: Tom is physically very strong and nimble, more than a match for any of his owners. But he refuses to kill, even when he is given the option to kill Legree to help Cassie and Emmeline escape. He helps them escape anyway, and then chooses to die rather than reveal their secret or even fight back against his killers.
  • All-Loving Hero: Even on his deathbed, Tom prays to God that he will forgive his murderers.
  • Forgiveness: The central theme of Tom's character.
  • God Is Good: He never loses his faith in that, even in his darkest moments.
  • Happiness in Slavery: Tom averts this when St. Claire offers him his liberation. St. Claire seems offended by it, but Tom explains that even though he had it good with him as a master, freedom is more worth than anything else.
  • Heroic BSoD: Tom has one after the first beating he received from Legree. He almost loses his faith, but later rejects that idea and remains faithful.
  • Heroic Bystander: Tom does not interfere much with anything happening and appears almost apathetic at times, but he doesn't hesitate for a second when Eva falls from the boat and is at risk to drown.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Tom is whipped to death after helping Cassie and Emmeline to run away. He still manages to live enough to see George Shelby before he dies and to redeem two of his tormentors, Sambo and Quimbo.
  • Inspirational Martyr: So much that the chapter where he is tortured to near death is called "The Martyr".
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Tom on Legree's farm still tries to be as kind and helpful as possible.
  • Messianic Archetype: Tom models his life on Jesus, and does it well enough to shake the lifelong beliefs and habitual cruelties of almost every character he meets. Even Simon Legree, although that one only leads to an Ignored Epiphany.
  • Peaceful in Death: After he is visited by his former master George on his deathbed, Tom says that he can now die in peace.
  • The Teetotaler: Tom never drinks, and is outright offended when St. Clare orders him not to get wasted more than once a week.
  • Turn the Other Cheek: Despite being tortured and humiliated by Simon, he states he would give his blood to prevent him from dying at any point.
  • Undying Loyalty: Tom does not run away like Eliza, because he sees that only by selling him his master Shelby can pay his debts and save his other slaves.
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    Eliza Harris 
Mrs. Shelby's maid, George's wife and Harry's mother. Eliza is a beautiful and intelligent young slave who does not complain about her destiny - until her son is threatened to be sold away from her, when she plans and executes a heroic escape.
  • Adult Fear: Shelby sold her son Harry without her, so she likely will never see him again. This prospect drove her to run away with him.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Eliza's skin color, as well as her son's, is almost white which enables them to escape.
  • Beautiful Slave Girl: Everyone comments on Eliza's outstanding beauty.
  • Danger — Thin Ice: In one of the most iconic moments of the novel, Eliza escapes with her son across the partly frozen Ohio river, by jumping from ice floe to ice floe. Word of God later claimed that this was described after a true event.
  • Determinator: Eliza doesn't let anything stop her escape - not even a partly frozen river.
  • Lawful Good: Initially she doesn't even think of defying the law and tries to talk George out of running away. She changes drastically soon.
  • Missing Mom: Eliza was sold from the Deep South to Kentucky as a child, and has not seen her mother ever since.
  • Mistaken Nationality: Due to her white skin color, she is able to disguise as a Spanish woman during her escape.

    Cassy 
Simon Legree's mistress. Described as a once beautiful woman, but now broken from a lifetime of slavery, she is given hope by Tom and devises a plan to escape the plantation.
  • Beauty to Beast: Averted; she is described as still somewhat beautiful, but tainted by a shadow over her face.
  • Big Damn Reunion: Years after the actions of the main story, she is reunited with her daughter Lizzy, who she hasn't seen for decades.
  • Broken Bird: After years of abuse and horror, she is rarely anything other than snarky and cynical.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Cassy has become indifferent towards the countless cruelties Legree commits, to the point she advise Tom to simply give in to him.
  • Driven to Villainy: In a final desperate attempt, she plans to murder Legree. Tom stops her.
  • Emotion Suppression: She tries her best not to become emotionally attached to Emmeline while they flee Legree, but in the end fails.
  • Not Afraid of Hell: Taken to a logical extreme. Cassy rejects heaven as she regards it the place where white people go, and she'd rather be in hell without them than in heaven with them.
  • Offing the Offspring: Cassie smothered her baby to save it from a life of slavery.

Main Free Characters

    Arthur Shelby 
A slave owner on a farm in Kentucky. He is described as a kind and uncruel man generally, who yet engages in slavery. He is the owner of Eliza, Harry and Tom, and due to financial problems he plannes to sell the latter two, which kicks off the plot.
  • Killed Offscreen: Happens to him in the novel. When the action returns to Shelby's ranch after years, he is already dead and his son took over.
  • Manly Tears: Cries them over the forced selling of his favorite slave Tom.
  • Sympathetic Slave Owner: Shelby deeply cares for his slaves and only wants the best for them, even though he doesn't object to slavery in general.
  • White-and-Grey Morality: He seems to be a genuinely nice guy, and yet he actively partakes in slavery.

    George Shelby 
The son of Arthur Shelby. He loves Tom and promises to rescue him after his father sold him into an unknown future.
  • The Atoner: George keeps his friend Tom in memory by releasing all his slaves in the final chapter of the novel.
  • Berserk Button: After Tom's death, he stoically endures all slurs of Simon - until the latter says the N-Word. It doesn't end well for Simon.
  • Society Marches On: His father was a slave owner, he abandons slavery and swears to fight it in whatever he can.
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    Augustin St. Claire 
A slave owner in New Orleans, Tom's second master and Eva's father. He is a lenient and easygoing man who owns slave out of complacency, not because he believes in it.
  • Accidental Murder: St. Claire dies because he was stabbed to death by a drunkard in a fight St. Claire wasn't even involved, just unlucky to be there.
  • The Alcoholic: In the beginning St. Claire is described as drinking way too much. After a Wake-Up Call discussion with his servant Tom, he stops.
  • Benevolent Boss: St. Claire is a Slave Owner, but one that lets his Slaves very free hand.
  • Dismotivation: He knows and acknowledges that he things slavery is wrong, and yet cannot get himself over releasing his slaves - or at least write his last will so they all are free after his death.
  • Nay-Theist: St. Claire believes in god, but he doesn't partake in any worshipping of him.
  • Not So Different: Augustine tries to argue that the American slavery isn't that much different to the exploitation of workers in early capitalism.
  • The One That Got Away: Happened in the backstory. He was meant to marry a woman who he truly loved and vice versa, but her father called the marriage off and hid the letters St. Claire sent her. He ended up marrying Marie instead.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: His daughter Eva dies before him.
  • Papa Wolf: Would do anything to protect his daughter Eva.
  • Redemption Equals Death: After Eva's death, the realization of his wrongdoings shakes him. He says he needs an off-time in a close coffee house, where he is accidentally killed.
  • Secretly Selfish: He believes that he is doing his slaves a favour as they would live worse without him. Only in a talk to his cousin Miss Ophelia he realizes he still owns them mostly for complacency.
  • Southern Gentleman: Augustine St. Clair represents the slave-owning class at its best. Tom nevertheless makes it clear to him that slavery is wrong even under the most benign circumstances.
    Evangeline St. Claire 
The daughter of Augustin St. Claire. She is described as the purest child on earth, believes strongly in morals and Christianity and objects to slavery as a whole.
  • All-Loving Hero: Eva loves everyone, from people who genuinely care about her (like Tom and her father) to people who are mostly indifferent to her (like her mother) to people who seem completely irredeemable, like Topsy or her cousin.
  • Death of a Child: Eva's death marks the turning point of the novel, as well as a fundamental turnover to St. Claire and Tom's lives.
  • Gold and White Are Divine: Eva wears white clothes and has blonde hair.
  • Ill Girl: A big part of Eva's arc evolves around her dying.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: With Tom, who is in his late forties at least.
  • Meaningful Name: "Good message". Her father stated that he named her with that exact premise in mind.
  • Only Friend: Played for Drama with Topsy: Eva is actually the only friend Topsy has ever had in her entire life.
  • Selfless Wish: Eva's only last wish to her father is that he will release all his slaves, making them free people.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: On Eva's deathbed, everyone agrees that she is too good for this world, and Eva herself is happy to leave the world behind and go to heaven.

    Simon Legree 
The third owner of Tom, an absolutely evil and ruthless master who uses violence against slaves not only as a tool, but genuinely enjoys it.
  • A God Am I: Simon thinks of himself as the god of his slaves, and demands from them to abandon every other god.
  • Defeat Means Respect: After he's beaten to the floor by George Shelby, he secretly admits that he has developed some respect for him.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Simon completely fails to understand why he can neither break Tom nor make him the overseer, no matter how much pain he inflicts on him.
  • Evil Is Hammy: When he is first introduced to the story, Simon boasts in a tavern with his fist that has become "rough from beating up slaves".
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: When he brings the new batch of slaves to his plantation, he doesn't hide for a second what he bought Emmeline for.
  • Mental Monster: Simon is deeply superstitious and loses his mind when he thinks his house is haunted.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: Many myths circulate around what exactly happened to a group of unfortunate slaves in the attic, and the fact that Simon forbids to talk about it fuels the fantasy even more.
  • Revenge by Proxy: After Cassy and Emmeline's escape, when Simon realizes he cannot punish them, he takes it all out on Tom.
  • Torture for Fun and Information: Simon tries to torture Tom into revealing the escape plan of Cassy and Emmeline, but he also thoroughly enjoys it.
  • We Can Rule Together: Simon's original plan with Tom was to appoint him the new overseer, due to his smarts and strength. He fails.

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Other characters

    George Harris 

Eliza's husband an a remarkably intelligent and resourceful slave, who will not accept his destiny and chooses flight instead.

  • Gadgeteer Genius: George invented a machine to clean hemp that is still in use in many canvas factories, but the patent belongs to his master of course.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: George Harris has a slavery branding on his hand to identify him.
  • Happily Ever After: The final fate of George and his family is remarkably good, and his family continues to live in Canada, and later migrates to Liberia.
  • Papa Wolf: When Tom Looker threatens to get hold of George's family, the latter doesn't hesitate to shoot.
  • Persecuted Intellectuals: George's master is not impressed at all by his resourcefulness, and instead makes him work so hard he does not have time for anything else.
  • Run or Die: His life choice boils down to this, as he is meant to be sold down to the plantations of the south that have an infamous death count.
  • So Near, Yet So Far: George expresses his deep fear of experiencing that when the family is just about to reach Canada. Nothing happens though,

    Tom Looker 
A ruthless slave hunter, who takes money from slave owners and slave traders to retreive escaped slaves.
  • Don't Make Me Destroy You: He threatens the slaves in his custody to the maximum: Even the slightest disobedience will end in him "smacking their faces in".
  • Heel–Faith Turn: After he is nursed back to health by the Quakers, he decides to devote himself to the Quakers' beliefs and abandoned his profession as a slave hunter.
  • I Want My Mommy!: On the verge of dying, he calls for his mother.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted; he shares his first name with the main character of the story.
  • Talk to the Fist: His literal threat to slaves in his custody.

    Mary St. Claire 
The wife of Augustin and mother of Eva. Broken by the rejected love of her husband, she is a self-centered and hypochondriac character.
  • Brainless Beauty: Soon after the marriage, Augustin realizes there isn't anything behind the beautiful facade of Mary.
  • Hypochondria: Mary keeps on ranting about all the diseases and pains she has. Yet, many characters comment that she seems to be fine completely, and Augustin eye-rollingly says to her he will pretend that whatever disease is true.
  • It's All About Me: When Evangeline is dying, Mary ups her laments about her own diseases because she cannot stand someone else becoming the center of attention - even when it's her own child.
  • Rich Bitch: Mary grew up in abundance and only ever recognized slaves as her servants. It doesn't do well to her character.
  • Unwanted Spouse: Augustin loved someone else and married her mainly for her status and money.
  • Would Hurt a Child: When Topsy misbehaves, she openly admits to Ms. Orphelia that she would let the kid be beaten "until his back is bleeding" if Topsy was her property.

    Miss Ophelia 
Augustin's cousin from Vermont, a free state: Augustin invited her to live on his farm in order to take a look on Evangeline, as he deemed her mother Mary not capable anymore.
  • Heel–Face Turn: In the beginning, Ophelia outright loathes black people - in the end she adopts little Topsy and takes her to the north.
  • Housewife: Miss Ophelia is a natural talent in keeping a house clean, way more than every one of Augustine's slaves.
  • I'm Taking Her Home with Me!: Miss Ophelia takes Topsy with her to the north, so she can live a free live and not stay a slave.
  • Innocent Bigot: Miss Ophelia detests slavery and calls Augustin out for having some - and yet she is a die-hard racist, in the beginning at least.
  • Rightly Self-Righteous: She sees herself as having the moral high ground because she doesn't own slaves. St. Claire and the author both agree that she is completely right about that.
  • Schedule Fanatic: As every character states, her punctuality is impeccable.

    Topsy 
An orphaned slave child who St. Claire bought off of extremely abusive owners, so Miss Orphelia should take care of her.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Topsy has serious issues with her attitude, but it's completely justified given her horrific past.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Even for the standards of slavery, Topsy's heritage is horrific. Before Topsy was bought by St. Claire, all she ever knew was extreme abuse by their owners who repeatedly hit her whenever they were drunk (read: daily). When Miss Ophelia takes care of her, she literally begs for getting lashes, just because she doesn't know anything else.
  • Friendless Background: Topsy grew up with nobody loving her, or even expressing some kind of amicability towards her.
  • Only Friend: Eva, who Topsy helds in high regard even after her death.
  • The Prankster: Topsy is infamous for playing pranks on everyone who wrongs her, so she is left alone very quickly.
  • Sticky Fingers: Topsy steals whatever she can get her little hands on, but given that she didn't have any upbringing she simply doesn't know it's wrong.
  • Unknown Relative: Topsy does not even remember to have ever had parents. When she is asked for her mother, she simply replies "Never had a mother!"
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