Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The St. Clares Offer a Variety of Opinions of the Day Regarding Slavery


Chapter XV – Of Tom’s New Master and Various Other Matters
Mr. St. Clare was not permitted to marry the special lady in his life, and had to settle for Marie; therefore, the day he received a letter from that special lady who broke away from her arranged marriage, it was too late, and the honeymoon with Marie was over.  Marie fell ill, and St. Clare traveled to Virginia to bring back his cousin, Miss Ophelia, who agreed to come live with the St. Clare’s in order to care for Eva.

Chapter XVI – Tom’s Mistress and Her Opinions
Marie St. Clare is full of opinions: she believes slavery to be right, thinks slaves are selfish, believes they must be put down and kept down (in order to keep them in line), thinks servants are just a bunch of grown-up children, does not believe her personal servant, Mammy, should have the same feelings as she when it comes to being separated from her husband and children, says the slaves should be sent away to be flogged, and finally, that God has caused there to be different classes of people; therefore, the Bible supports slavery, too.  Meanwhile, Miss Ophelia, a northerner, who does not think slavery to be right, does not think it is good that her cousin, Mr. St. Clare, allows Eva to be so friendly with the servants, especially Tom, which demonstrates Ophelia’s own prejudices.    And as for Mr. St. Clare, not particularly a religious man, he expresses the hypocrisy of the religious people who use the Scriptures to validate what they do; therefore, if the wind changes, they will simply find something else in their Bibles to justify it.

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