Chapter

Epics of Ambivalence

Dan McKanan

in Identifying the Image of God

Published in print November 2002 | ISBN: 9780195145328
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834471 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195145321.003.0007

Series: Religion in America

Epics of Ambivalence

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The novels of Harriet Beecher Stowe both epitomized and compromised the tradition of radical Christian liberalism. This chapter explores Stowe's ambivalent relationship to earlier reformers and sentimental authors, and then analyzes three models of power in her antislavery novels, Uncle Tom's Cabin and Dred. Her depiction of benevolent Quakers and loving mothers builds on the classic model of sentimentality, according to which humans can achieve power simply by identifying with one another. Her Christological interpretation of Uncle Tom and Little Eva, on the other hand, suggests that sacrificial death is the ultimate source of power. And her novels also hint that God will ultimately use apocalyptic power to overthrow slavery.

Keywords: apocalyptic; Christological; Dred; nonviolence; power; Quakers; sentimentality; slavery; Stowe; Uncle Tom's Cabin

Chapter.  10607 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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