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Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin

For Ages: 8 - 12
  • reading group guide
Uncle Tom's Cabin was a sensation upon its publication in 1852. In its first year it sold 300,000 copies, and has since been translated into more than twenty languages. This powerful story of one slave's unbreakable spirit holds an important place in American history, as it helped solidify the anti-slavery sentiments of the North, and moved a nation to civil war.
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  • Aladdin | 
  • 720 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780689851261 | 
  • June 2002 | 
  • Grades 3 - 7
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Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide for Uncle Tom's Cabin

About the Book
Arthur Shelby is a good man -- kind and fair -- but he has fallen into financial difficulties. The only way he can set things right is by selling two of his slaves: the strong and faithful Tom, and Eliza's charming young son. Shelby's decision sets in motion two series of events that are as different as night and day, as both Tom and Eliza are forced to leave the Shelby estate. The journeys they take, and the people they meet along the way, lie at the heart of Uncle Tom's Cabin, a story that served as a searing indictment of the slave system that existed at the time.
Discussion Topics
  • How do the other people on the Shelby estate react to news of the sale of Tom and Harry? What is Mrs. Shelby's objection? How does young "Mas'r George" deal with the news of his friend's departure? How do the other slaves react?
  • Many different people help Eliza during her flight -- Mr. Symmes, the Bird family, the community of Quakers. What similarities and differences are there among all these people? What reasons does each of them give for helping Eliza?
  • Much of the dialogue in the book is given over to a debate on the morality of slavery. Most of the slave owners feel that they are "above" the slave traders. Is this true? Why do you think that so many members of the clergy defended slavery?
  • Discuss the author's attitude toward her black characte
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ENDURING LITERATURE ILLUMINATED BY PRACTICAL SCHOLARSHIP Harriet Beecher Stowe's scathing indictment of slavery in the Old South, a novel that has become a landmark of American literature. EACH ENRICHED CLASSIC EDITION INCLUDES: • A concise introduction that gives readers important background information • A chronology of the author's life and work • A timeline of significant events that provides the book's historical context • An outline of key themes and plot points to...
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