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What’s a Metaphor?

Sorry about saying that I would have have a post about images and metaphors yesterday, and then not delivering.  If you’ve hung around this blog for any amount of time you probably saw that one coming.

But if you don’t want to read about the images and metaphors in Uncle Tom’s Cabin I could tell you more about that horrible Mississippi Mud Cake I made.  I’m telling you folks, Aunt Chloe would have shaken her head in despair at my mediocre attempt.  No “perfectioners” would have hired me so I could pay for my husband’s freedom.  You know that cracked dried up mud on the banks of a river in a drought year?  That’s what this cake was.

Oh, you’re here for images and metaphors.  Sorry, I’m easily distracted.

Water.  Eliza’s daring cross of the Ohio river, Tom’s move to the south, Eva’s death by Lake Pontchartrain, George’s family’s journey to freedom across Lake Erie, Cassie’s reconnection with her family learned of on the riverboat north.  Water delivers.

Hair.  Eva gives away her golden curls as a symbol of her love, Legree’s mother does the same for him, yet he rejects it.  Eliza is forced to cut her dark locks to ensure safe passage to Canada disguised as a young man.

Mothers.  Mrs. Stowe is one, and she often addresses her readers with the same enduring moniker.  Then, she smothers the book in mothers: mothers, both slave and free; mothers who have lost their children to slavery, death, and unbelief; mothers who are horrible at mothering (and wifing, and slaveholding too, for that matter); mothers who go to any lengths necessary to save their children; mothers who are helpless to save their children; mothers who cry and help; mothers who drink and despair; mothers who stand up to unfair laws and their husbands; mothers who mother children who are not their own; mothers who are not mothers, yet take on the role; mothers who heal the enemy and make them the friend; mothers who love.

Tom’s Bible.  It is always present.  There’s clinging to the Word of God, and then there’s really clinging to the Word of God.

And last, but not least, in fact, it’s definitely the best, is Christine’s analysis of the parallels between Jesus and Uncle Tom:

  • Tom leaves his cabin to descend into the south like Christ descended to earth to be “among the lowly.”
  • Tom is sinless (as far as we can recall in the novel, if you can find an instance where HBS shows him sinning please let us know, we think even his anger can be justified as righteous.)
  • Tom is forsaken by everyone.
  • The Morning Star shines over Tom as he lay beaten in the shed.
  • Tom’s time of bitterness about the coming events is like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane praying that the cup be taken from him.
  • Tom asks George to take care of Chloe like Jesus as John to care for Mary.
  • Sambo and Quimbo are like the two thieves on the cross, or possibly like the Roman soldier who while participating in his crucifixion realized Jesus was the Christ.
  • Legree is like Pilate or the Sanhedrin, although he also reminded me of obdurate Pharaoh.
  • The body of Tom was taken by his friend to be buried.
  • Tom’s death buys freedom for others.
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Posted by on June 13, 2012 in Uncle Tom's Cabin

 

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