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4.17.2: Reading and Review Questions

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    1. In Chapter I, why does Shelby support his claim for Tom’s integrity by noting Tom’s having “got religion at a camp-meeting, four years ago?” Why does Shelby not call out Haley’s integrity when he claims to have “just as much conscience as any many in business can afford to keep?”
    2. How does Eliza’s reaction to her son Harry’s being sold connect back to Whittier’s “The Farewell?” What assumptions about the book’s readers does the narrator make by calling upon their empathy with the line “If it were your Harry, mother, or your Willie, that were to be torn from you by a brutal trader tomorrow?” What do the readers have in common with Eliza?
    3. How and why does Stowe ask readers to distinguish between Constitutional and Christian relations? How does the conversation between the Birds highlight the differences between Constitutional and Christian relations?
    4. What human (or humane) needs does Topsy’s resistance to education reveal? How is her character (as a character in the book) developed through her relations with Eva?
    5. What, if anything, is achieved through Tom’s “martyrdom,” that is, his suffering and eventual death? Is Tom heroic? If so, then how, and why?

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