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Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Chapters XXXIX–XLV


Chapters XXXIX–XLV, page 2

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Summary: Chapter XXXIX

Cassy devises a plan to make Legree think that ghosts haunt the garret of the house. Then she and Emmeline conspicuously attempt an escape, running from the house and into the nearby swamp. The overseers order a hunt, and while the household searches for the women, they slip back into the house and into the garret, where Cassy has been hoarding food and supplies. Cassy and Emmeline can remain safely in the garret, for Legree and the others will attribute any noises they make to the “ghosts” and will never dare to venture upstairs to investigate.

Summary: Chapter XL

“Oh, Mas’r! . . . Do the worst you can, my troubles’ll be over soon; but, if ye don’t repent, yours won’t never end!”

(See Important Quotations Explained)

Unable to act on his fury over Cassy and Emmeline’s escape, Legree directs his wrath toward Tom. He suspects that Tom knows something about the women’s plan and sends for him for questioning.

He tells Tom that he will kill him if Tom does not tell him what he knows about the women’s escape, but Tom says that he would rather die than speak. Legree pauses for a moment, as if good and evil were battling inside his heart, but evil wins. Legree beats Tom all night, and then he orders Sambo and Quimbo, the overseers, to continue the beating. Tom prays and remains pious to the end, touching Sambo and Quimbo’s hearts. They believe him when he tells them of Jesus. Tom prays that their hearts can be saved.

Summary: Chapter XLI

“Witness, eternal God! . . . [F]rom this hour, I will do what one man can to drive out this curse of slavery from my land!”

(See Important Quotations Explained)

Two days later, George Shelby, Mr. Shelby’s son, arrives at Legree’s plantation. He has spent much time searching for his beloved former slave after the death of his father. George finds Tom near death, but Tom is delighted to see “Mas’r George” after their long separation, and he dies a contented man. George takes Tom’s body and tells Legree that he will have him tried for murder. Legree points out that no whites witnessed the flogging, and thus the case could not go to court. George strikes him and knocks him to the ground. The other slaves plead with him to buy them, but he cannot. As he leaves, he resolves to do all he can to abolish slavery.

Summary: Chapter XLII

Cassy, disguised as a Creole Spanish lady, escapes from the plantation with Emmeline. They board the same boat as George Shelby, who notices Cassy. Fearing that he sees through her disguise, she tells him everything. George promises to protect her to the best of his abilities. The passenger in the next cabin, a French woman named Madame de Thoux, asks George questions about his home and realizes that George Harris, Eliza’s husband, is her brother. Madame de Thoux was born into slavery like her brother, but she was later sold to a kind man who took her to the West Indies, set her free, and married her. Her husband died only recently. Cassy, too, has listened to George Shelby’s story, and when she hears his description of Eliza, she realizes that Eliza may be her daughter.

Summary: Chapter XLIII

Cassy, Emmeline, and Madame de Thoux travel to Montreal, where George and Eliza Harris are living. George works in a machinist’s shop, and Eliza has given birth to a second child, a daughter. The five reunite with tears and joy. Madame de Thoux’s husband has recently died and left her a great fortune, which she offers to the family. From Canada, they sail to France, where they live for a few years before returning to the United States. In a letter to one of his friends, George advocates the immigration of blacks to Liberia, a West African nation founded by private organizations and the U. S. government in order to resettle freed slaves. George and his family immigrate to Liberia and are not heard from again.

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Just a comment on the analysis

by mar_vin_kaiser, June 15, 2014

In the analysis of Chapters XXIV–XXVIII of Uncle Tom's Cabin, would it be ok if the reference to Uncle Tom's death was removed? It was really a spoiler for me, reading each analysis after finishing the set of chapters for that analysis, and I think other readers won't like these kinds of spoilers as well. Thanks and


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by Ziam_is_bae, December 06, 2014

This really helped with my reading of the book. It made it so much easier!! There wasn't any heavy vocab to go through, and it helped me understand the context easily. I will definitely come to this website first from now on!!


by valdeline, December 13, 2014

Which chapters would you say describes, Simon Legrre, Miss Ophelia and Eva's attitude towards slavery?


1 out of 1 people found this helpful

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