Anti-slavery novel, novel of social protest


The narrator is sometimes omniscient—informed of the histories of the various characters unknown to other participants in the plot—and sometimes a plausible real person, reporting what he or she has perceived or experienced. In both modes, however, the narrator is far from objective and often lectures the reader.

Point of view  

The novel is told largely in the third person but often in the second. The narrative enters the minds of many of the characters but sympathizes mostly with the slaves in the book.


Stowe’s attitude toward the story seems to be identical with that of the narrator.



Setting (time)  

Around the early 1850s

Setting (place)  

The American South (Kentucky and Louisiana). Eliza and George’s escape takes them through Ohio and several Northern Quaker settlements, then into Canada.


Uncle Tom in the main narrative; Eliza and George Harris in the subplot

Major conflict  

Whether practiced by kind or cruel masters, slavery injects misery into the lives of Southern Black people, testing their courage and their faith.

Rising action  

Uncle Tom comes to live under increasingly evil masters; his faith begins to falter; while working at the Legree plantation, he encourages Cassy and Emmeline to escape; he refuses to compromise his values by helping Legree hunt them down


The sequence of events surrounding Uncle Tom’s renewal of religious faith and his death, Chapters XXXVIII-LXI

Falling action  

George Shelby’s emancipation of his slaves in Chapter XLIII, which is motivated by his witnessing Tom’s death


Eva’s statement that she will soon join the angels foreshadows her death.