Studies in American Fiction; Spring2004, Vol. 32 Issue 1, p21-48, 28p
FICTION, SENTIMENTALISM in literature, LITERARY characters, FICTITIOUS characters, NOVELISTS, and AUTHORSHIP
This article presents information works of writer Harriet Elizabeth Beecher Stowe like the one called "The Minister's Wooing (1859), a novel critical of Calvinist theological institutions, where death infuses sentimental keepsakes with transcendent significance and "Uncle Tom's Cabin." Uncle Tom's Cabin, whose characters have been repeatedly critiqued as sentimental and racial stereotypes or, conversely, have been rationalized as outgrowths of Stowe's religious heritage. This latter view, argued best by authors Jane Tompkins and Mason I. Lowance, has been important for recovering the typological structure of the novel's plot and its "allegorical" and "exegetical" characters. Still, their accounts do not frilly explain the complexity of Stowe's modes of characterization, the capaciousness of her religious imagination, or how discourses of Puritanism both inform her novel and yet had become residual institutional and cultural practices by 1850. The most suggestive character in Uncle Tom's Cabin in this regard is the one who has been inexplicably left out of accounts of the novel's stereo-typical nature.