February 24, 2011

Sitzbook: "Uncle Tom's Cabin" (This Time, NOT The Warrant Song)

A few days ago I finished Uncle Tom's Cabin and in the meantime I've actually made it through a whole other book, but I think I needed a few days to digest everything in UTC. The book was interesting, to say the least, although I didn't really realize how loaded it was with history, criticism, and controversy. I'm not referring to the actual text, but to everything else associated with it. My friend Marie pointed me to this page, which is pretty exhaustive and fascinating.

I don't intend to get into anything in this post except the actual plot of the book, since so much has already been said about it. 

My question: "Did I like the book?" 
My answer: "Yes." 

My other thoughts related to that answer:

-I had actually expected the character of Uncle Tom to be an antagonist, because of the connotations that the name carries today; instead, he just seemed to be overly passive and submissive. Certainly, that's gonna come with its own set of problems, but nevertheless, he seems to be just about the only character that I found to be likable, as well as at least halfway-conceived.

-Don't expect to understand why it's called Uncle Tom's Cabin until almost the very end. Even then, it doesn't really make sense. If anything, it ought to have been called "Uncle Tom's Shitty Journey Through Slavery in Various Unappealing-Sounding Places."

-I guess their whole story is more of a sub-plot, but how come Stowe seemed to forget about Eliza and George for about 4/5ths of the book?

-Don't get me started on Eva. And definitely not on Topsy. Not even gonna open those two cans of worms.

-Evidently, back in those days people said "ejaculations" instead of "exclamations," which could have led to confusion and humor in both the dining room and the bedroom.

-For a story that's nearly 160 years old, I have to admit that it's held up remarkably well. Its antiquity only adds to its interest, in my opinion. Plus, it was a free download through Amazon (more info here), so the price was definitely right!

If anyone else has read UTC, I'd be interested to hear what you thought of it. Thanks for reading!

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Lucy said...

interesting review!
my only familiarity with book comes from having performed in the play "the king and I" when i was about 7 years old, which includes a theatrical interpretation of the novel, but you make it sound worth reading.

the only problem is, you make me realise how contrary I obivously am with your imperitive "don't get me started...!" because it sounds fascinating and of course makes me want to demand BUT WHY NOT? what CAN you MEAN...? etc

Sitzman said...

Hm! I've never seen "The King and I" in any form, but I guess now UTC is a book within a play within a comment within a blog... within a couple of dreams (assuming we're all in Inception somewhere).

Well, I guess you'll just have to download the free version to see why I can't get started with those characters! Haha!

BTW, I also finished "Heart of Darkness" (another free download), so I've moved on to "The Plague," which you loaned me. I'm liking it a lot so far!