About a month ago, my husband surprised me with the gift of a kindle. Uncle Tom’s Cabin is the first WEM novel that I have begun reading using my new e-reader (and only an e-reader). This is exciting! I can look up definitions to words by touching the screen. I can carry my lightweight “book” everywhere. For now I’m still journaling in a separate notebook, but when I learn to fully use the kindle, I’ll be able to take notes on the screen!
But this also means…
I downloaded a free version of UTC, and I have no illustrated cover to enjoy: no artwork to consider. I have no back cover where I might read an interesting paragraph about the novel or snippet of information about the author. There are no reviews from other important authors telling me how this novel is one of America’s greatest. I can’t “flip” through a paperback copy to see how long the chapters are.
So this also means…
that my very first impressions of Uncle Tom’s Cabin were made by reading the first chapter. Remember the whole point of following the WEM plan is to learn to form my own ideas about great works of literature, so I haven’t read any prefaces or synopsis of the book.
About a week ago, I touched the screen and began the story.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin or Life among the Lowly
Chapter 1: In Which the Reader is Introduced to a Man of Humanity
First Impressions on the First Chapter: I was immediately drawn in by Stowe’s style of writing; it’s easy, familiar, descriptive and clever. Occasionally, the narrator will pull back the curtain to address me as the reader directly. I always enjoy this. (Jane Eyre— “Reader, I married him.”) My knowledge of the history of slavery in the south is limited, but like Uncle Tom, I am a Christian and like Eliza, I am a mother. I could easily and immediately relate to characters.
Harriet Beecher Stowe, I know we just met, but I like you. I like your book, even though I suspect it may be the first WEM novel that causes me to shed tears.
Reader, what was your first impression of Uncle Tom’s Cabin?