Scenes of blood and cruelty are shocking to our ear and heart. What man has nerve to do, man has not nerve to hear. What brother-man and brother-Christian must suffer cannot be told us, even in our secret chamber, it so harrows up the soul. And yet, O my country, these things are done under the shadow of thy laws! O Christ, thy church sees them almost in silence!
How true! I know that I often prefer to be the ostrich – hiding my head in the sand – rather than face up to the awful truths of injustice and problems in society. I think that, although Harriet included many awful things in this novel, things that even made us cry, she probably shielded the reader from the worst of the cruelty. She wanted her novel to be widely read, so often she just alluded to the worst of the problems. Take the story of Emmaline and Cassie, for example. Although Stowe alludes to their treatment at the hands of Legree, she lets the reader imagine most of it, sparing us the excruciating details. Although the book is shocking at times, I really think it could have been worse.