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Anelys Perez


Uncle Tom's Cabinwas published in 1852. The Narrative of the Life of Frederick

Douglasswas published 7 years earlier. One is a novel, the latter a detailed autobiography,

both revolving around slavery in the United States. These works of prose are similar in

many areas of writing but also share a stark contrast in other things.

The authors are what ultimately shape a book along with its perspective and tone.

In this case, two completely different people created works of writing that were similar in

the sense that they both agreed on the topic of slavery. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote her

novel with a major motif permeating throughout, that being that slavery was immoral and

wrong, as did Frederick Douglass. Stowe's writing had a melodramatic tone to it. Every

slave had a tragedy that had befallen them, whereas Douglass just stated his life, which

was just as tragic without a dramatic tone to it. The tone of Douglass was straightforward

and at times very depressing as was Stowe when describing what Uncle Tom and

everyone else endured when Mr. Shelby sold Harry and Uncle Tom to Mr. Haley. This

ultimately goes to back to authors who put their own spin on their writing.

Douglass' and Stowes' views on religion were quite different. Stowe had

Christianity play a big role in all of the characters lives. Douglass believed in God, but

had a hard time understanding why he had been put through the terrible life of slavery. In

Uncle Tom's CabinGeorge Harris like Douglass questions God. "I an't a Christian like

you, Eliza; my heart's full of bitterness; I can't trust in God. Why does he let things be

so?" (Stowe 19) Stowe showed this lack of trust in God, and then when we meet Eva St.

Clare with a likeness to Jesus Christ so Christianity then becomes very symbolic. The

locks of hair, and her love for all are symbols of Jesus Christ. Douglass struggled because
he wanted to learn the "will of God". (Douglass 89) This proved to be difficult, especially

when slave owners refused slaves the right to attend Sabbath school, quite different from

the slaves in Uncle Tom's Cabinwho were brought up with religion. This leads to some

other differences as well as similarities in the books; their historical background.

Doulgass' account of slavery is more accountable and believable, because it was

written by a slave. They both however, embody what slavery was and downfalls of it.

Stowe used the nicer slave owners of Kentucky, showing that not all slave owners were

as cruel as others, which Douglass also does when he speaks of Mrs. Auld. Although one

account is favorable to the slave owners they both accurately depicted what the slaves

endured. Stowe uses fictional stories of slaves to describe the horrors, while Douglass

recounts his real life.

The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglassand Uncle Tom's Cabinwere

groundbreaking for their uncharacteristic way of depicting slavery in non-fiction and

fiction. They both accurately described slave life, and told of the horrors endured by

thousands before slavery was finally abolished in 1865. Those were among the few that

the two shared but they also had very different authors. One being a woman, which was

by itself strange and the other, a once enslaved man who broke his chains of oppression.