'Uncle Tom's Cabin' Quotes

Catalyst for Change Novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Uncle Tom's Cabin
Uncle Tom's Cabin. W.W. Norton & Company

Study Guide

Quotes

Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, is as famous as it is controversial. The book helped to flare up feelings for the slaves in the South, but some of the stereotypes have not been appreciated by some readers in more recent years. Whatever your opinion about Stowe's romantic novel, the work is a class in American literature. Here are a few quotes from the book.

  • "Yes Eliza, it's all misery, misery, misery! My life is bitter as wormwood; the very life is burning out of me. I'm a poor, miserable, forlorn drudge; I shall only drag you down with me, that's all. What's the use of our trying to do anything, trying to know anything, trying to be anything? What's the use of living? I wish I was dead!"
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 2
     
  • "This is God's curse on slavery!--a bitter, bitter, most accursed thing!--a curse to the master and a curse to the slave! I was a fool to think I could make anything good out of such a deadly evil."
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 5
     
  • "If I must be sold, or all the people on the place, and everything go to rack, why, let me be sold. I s'pose I can b'ar it as well as any on 'em."
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 5
     
  • "The huge green fragment of ice on which she alighted pitched and creaked as her weight came on it, but she staid there not a moment. With wild cries and desperate energy she leaped to another and still another cake;--stumbling--leaping--slipping--springing upwards again! Her shoes are gone--her stocking cut from her feet--while blood marked every step; but she saw nothing, felt nothing, till dimly, as in a dream, she saw the Ohio side, and a man helping her up the bank."
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 7
     
  • "You ought to be ashamed, John! Poor, homeless, houseless creatures! It's a shameful, wicked, abominable law, and I'll break it, for one, the first time I get a chance; and I hope I shall have a chance, I do! Things have got to a pretty pass, if a woman can't give a warm supper and a bed to poor, starving creatures, just because they are slaves, and have been abused and oppressed all their lives, poor things!"
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 9
     
  • "I have lost two, one after another,--left 'em buried there when I came away; and I had only this one left. I never slept a night without him; he was all I had. He was my comfort and pride, day and night; and, ma'am, they were going to take him away from me,--to sell him,--sell him down south, ma'am, to go all alone,--a baby that had never been away from his mother in his life!"
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 9
     
  • "Her form was the perfection of childish beauty, without its usual chubbiness and squareness of outline. There was about it an undulating and aerial grace, such as one might dream of for some mythic and allegorical being. Her face was remarkable less for its perfect beauty of feature than for a singular and dreamy earnestness of expression, which made the ideal start when they looked at her, and by which the dullest and most literal were impressed, without exactly knowing why."
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 14
     
  • "We don't own your laws; we don't own your country; we stand here as free, under God's sky, as you are; and, by the great God that made us, we'll fight for our liberty till we die."
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 17
     
  • "I looks like gwine to heaven, an't thar where white folks is gwine? S'pose they'd have me thar? I'd rather go to torment, and get away from Mas'r and Missis. I had so."
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 18
     
  • When I have been travel ling up and down on our boats, or about on my collecting tours, and reflected that every brutal, disgusting, mean, low-lived fellow I met, was allowed by our laws to become absolute despot of as many men, women and children, as he could cheat, steal, or gamble money enough to buy,--when I have seen such men in actual ownership of helpless children, of young girls and women,--I have been ready to curse my country, to curse the human race!"
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 19
     
  • "One thing is certain,--that there is a mustering among the masses, the world over; and there is a dis irae coming on, sooner or later. The same thing is working in Europe, in England, and in this country. My mother used to tell me of a millennium that was coming, when Christ should reign, and all men should be free and happy. And she taught me, when I was a boy, to pray, 'Thy kingdom come.' Sometimes I think all this sighing, and groaning, and stirring among the dry bones foretells what she used to tell me was coming. But who may abide the day of His appearing?"
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 19
     
  • "I'm going there, to the spirits bright, Tom; I'm going, before long."
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 22
     
  • "There, you impudent dog! Now will you learn not to answer back when I speak to you? Take the horse back, and clean him properly. I'll teach you your place!"
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 23
     
  • "It's jest no use tryin' to keep Miss Eva here. She's got the Lord's mark on her forehead."
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 24

  • "O, that's what troubles me, papa. You want me to live so happy, and never have any pain,--never suffer anything,--not even hear a sad story, when other poor creatures have nothing but pain and sorrow, all their lives;--it seems selfish. I ought to know such things, I ought to feel about them! Such things always sunk into my heart; they went down deep; I've thought and thought about them. Papa, isn't there any way to have all slaves made free?"
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 24

  • "I told you, Cousin, that you'd find out that these creatures can't be brought up without severity. If I had my way, now, I'd send that child out, and have her thoroughly whipped; I'd have her whipped till she couldn't stand!"
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 25

  • "No; she can't bar me, 'cause I'm a nigger!--she'd 's soon have a toad touch her! There can't nobody love niggers, and niggers can't do nothin'! I don't care."
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 25

  • "O, Topsy, poor child, I love you! I love you, because you haven't had any father, or mother, or friends;--because you've been a poor, abused child! I love you, and I want you to be good. I am very unwell, Topsy, and I think I shan't live a great while; and it really grieves me, to have you be so naughty. I wish you would try to be good, for my sake;--it's only a little while I shall be with you."
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 25

  • "Topsy, you poor child, don't give up! I can love you, though I am not like that dear little child. I hope I've learnt something of the love of Christ from her. I can love you; I do, and I'll try to help you to grow up a good Christian girl."
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 27

  • "Delicacy! A fine word for such as she! I'll teach her, with all her airs, that she's no better than the raggedest black wench that walks the streets! She'll take no more airs with me!"
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 29

  • "Now, I'm principled against emancipating, in any case. Keep a negro under the care of a master, and he does well enough, and is respectable; but set them free, and they get lazy, and won't work, and take to drinking, and go all down to be mean, worthless fellows. I've seen it tried, hundreds of times. It's no favor to set them free."
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 29

  • "I'm your church now!"
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 31

  • "Here, you rascal, you make believe to be so pious,--didn't you never hear, out of your Bible, 'Servants, obey yer masters'? An't I yer master? Didn't I pay down twelve hundred dollars, cash, for all there is inside yer old cussed black shell? An't yer mine, now, body and soul?"
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 33

  • "Poor critturs! What made 'em cruel?--and, if I give out, I shall get used to 't, and grow, little by little, just like 'em! No, no, Missis! I've lost everything,--wife and children, and home, and a kind Mas'r,--and he would have set me free, if he'd only lived a week longer; I've lost everything in this world, and it's clean gone, forever,--and now I can't lose Heaven, too; no, I can't get to be wicked, besides all!"
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 34

  • "When I was a girl, I thought I was religious; I used to love God and prayer. Now, I'm a lost soul, pursued by devils that torment me day and night; they keep pushing me on and on--and I'll do it, too, some of these days! I'll send him where he belongs,--a short way, too,--one of these nights, if they burn me alive for it!"
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 34

  • "You're afraid of me, Simon, and you've reason to be. But be careful, for I've got the devil in me!"
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 35

  • "How long Tom lay there, he knew not. When he came to himself, the fire was gone out, his clothes were wet with the chill and drenching dews; but the dread soul-crisis was past, and, in the joy that filled him, he no longer felt hunger, cold, degradation, disappointment, wretchedness."
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 38

  • "From his deepest soul, he that hour loosed and parted from every hope in the life that now is, and offered his own will an unquestioning sacrifice to the Infinite. Tom looked up to the silent, ever-living stars,--types of the angelic hosts who ever look down on man; and the solitude of the night rung with the triumphant words of a hymn, which he had sung often in happier days, but never with such feeling as now."
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 38

  • "No, time was when I would, but the Lord's given me a work among these yer poor souls, and I'll stay with 'em and bear my cross with 'em till the end. It's different with you; it's a snare to you,--it's more 'n you can stand,--and you'd better go if you can."
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 38

  • "Hark 'e, Tom!--ye think, 'cause I've let you off before, I don't mean what I say; but, this time, I've made up my mind, and counted the cost. You've always stood it out again' me: now, I'll conquer ye, or kill ye!--one or t' other. I'll count every drop of blood there is in you, and take 'em, one by one, till ye give up!"
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 40

  • "Mas'r, if you was sick, or in trouble, or dying, and I could save ye, I'd give ye my heart's blood; and, if taking every drop of blood in this poor old body would save your precious soul, I'd give 'em freely, as the Lord gave his for me. O, Mas'r! don't bring this great sin on your soul! It will hurt you more than't will me! Do the worst you can, my troubles'll be over soon; but, if ye don't repent, yours won't never end!"
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 40

  • "There an't no more ye can do! I forgive ye, with all my soul!"
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 40

  • "Do tell us who is Jesus anyhow? Jesus, that's been a standin' by you so, all this night!--Who is he?"
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 40

  • "Don't call me poor fellow! I have been poor fellow; but that's all past and gone, now. I'm right in the door, going into glory! O, Mas'r George! Heaven has come! I've got the victory!--the Lord Jesus has given it to me! Glory be to His name!"
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 41

  • "I don't sell dead niggers. You are welcome to bury him where and when you like."
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 41

  • "Witness, eternal God! Oh, witness, that, from this hour, I will do what one man can to drive out this curse of slavery from my land!"
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 41

  • "It was on his grave, my friends, that I resolved, before God, that I would never own another slave, while it is possible to free him; that nobody, through me, should ever run the risk of being parted from home and friends, and dying on a lonely plantation, as he died. So, when you rejoice in your freedom, think that you owe it to the good old soul, and pay it back in kindness to his wife and children. Think of your freedom, every time you see UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; and let it be a memorial to put you all in mind to follow in his steps, and be as honest and faithful and Christian as he was."
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 44

  • "A day of grace is yet held out to us. Both North and South have been guilty before God; and the Christian church has a heavy account to answer. Not by combining together, to protect injustice and cruelty, and making a common capital of sin, is this Union to be saved,--but by repentance, justice and mercy; for, not surer is the eternal law by which the millstone sinks in the ocean, than that stronger law, by which injustice and cruelty shall bring on nations the wrath of Almighty God!"
    - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ch. 45