Harriet Elisabeth Beecher got born on June 14, 1811in Litchfield. She got born to Rev. Lyman Beecher and Roxanna Beecher and was the sixth born in the family of eleven. The parents had expected a lot from their children with all their seven sons becoming ministers, the oldest daughter pioneering the education for women and their youngest daughter became the founder of the national womens suffrage Association. However, for Harriet, she felt that her role in life was to write (McFadden, 2015). The profound work she did revealed the truth on the greatest social injustice of her day, that is, the human slavery.
When her mother died, she was only five years of age. To honor her mothers talents, she pursued painting and drawing in their area. However, she started writing at an early age. When she was seven years, she took part in a school essay contest and earned praise from her father. Stowe was a significant figure in their family. She made a persuasive argument at the family table. She started the formal education at Sarah Pieces academy, the earliest institution that had encouraged girls to learn academic subjects and not just the ornamental arts. Stowe became the first learner and the teacher in 1824 at the Hartford female seminary, an institution that got founded by her sister Catherine (Ryan, 2011). Stowe had taken much time to enhance her writing skills, spending several hours in composing the essays.
With the enhanced passion for writing, she was able to express her thoughts in public in the period when women got discriminated and could not speak publicly, vote or hold the offices. Besides, the writing had enabled her to contribute financially to their family household income improving their living standards. She began publishing books before she got married where she published the book, the primary Geography for children in 1833. In the book, she had a sympathetic approach to the catholic, something that was unique at the time and this earned her praise of the local bishop. She, in 1835 did a short collection named the New England Sketches.
Stowe later did some work that included the mayflower, that described the sketches of the scenes and characters among the descendants of the Pilgrims in 1843 and the coral ring which was a short story that had enhanced the temperance and an anti-slavery tract. Furthermore, she also did several articles, essays and the short stories that got published more often in the newspapers and the journals.
The Stowe writing skills had a great impact on several individuals. In the year 1851, she got contracted by Gamliel Bailey who was the National Eras publisher to write a story that would paint a word picture for the slavery and that would run in bits (McFadden, 2015). Stowe, however, had a belief that Uncle Toms cabin or the Life among the Lowly to be three or four bits but wrote more than forty. She also did some writings that had influenced some nations. For instance, the Ministers Wooing that had assisted the Americans Protestants to get close to a much forgiving form of Christianity and also had the influence on herself as it helped her in resolving the death of her eldest son, Henry Stowe. Her writings also had influences on particular individuals. For instance, the American Womans Home, which was a practical guide to homemaking had tried to defend her friend Lady Byron and had immersed Stowe into scandals. Her writing career thus took 51 years and published 30 books and several stories, poems, articles and the hymns.
The experiences she had had in life had immensely contributed to her novel, the Uncle Toms Cabin. When her father moved to Cincinnati where he later became the president of the lane Theological Seminary, Beecher met and got married to Calvin Stowe who was a theology professor. The greatest sorrow she had experienced is when she lost her eighteen-month-old son Charles Stowe to Cholera. The crushing pain then became one of her greatest aspirations in the novel Uncle Toms Cabin since it had helped her comprehend the pain enslaved mothers had when their children got taken from them to be sold into slavery. She understood the way they felt and through this feeling she got aspired and wrote the novel. She compared the death to the individuals who took other peoples children and selling them. However, when her husband joined the faculty of his alma mater, their family also moved to Maine and lived in Brunswick until 1853.
The significant influences in Beechers live get connected her novel, the Uncles Tom Cabin. The publication of this novel got done in instalments. The first instalment had appeared in the on June 5, 1851, and was done in the anti-slavery newspaper. She enlisted her friends and the family who had to send her the information and this had yielded some freedom narratives and anti-slavery newspapers as the primary accounts as they composed the story. The serial then got published as the two-volume book in 1852. Uncle Toms Cabin then became the best seller in the United States, Europe, Asia and it got translated into over 60 languages. Speaking about her novel, Beecher said that she was writing because she is a mother. She recalls the way she got oppressed and broken-hearted with the forms of the injustice and sorrows she experienced. She felt that there were some elements of dishonour to Christianity and as a Christian she felt bad. Also, from the sale of the children and the suffering the enslaved mothers went through when their children were taken from them inspired her to write since she compares it to the death of her child. She claims that as a patriot of her nation, she got terrified and disturbed about the coming day of wrath.
Uncle Toms cabin had taken a crucial role in enhancing the movement to abolish the slavery in the United States. The book had encouraged the involvement of the children in the public affairs as well as encouraging their education. By this, she had enhanced the education of numerous children especially the girl-child education. Furthermore, the involvement of the children in the public affairs had made them enjoy some democratic freedom and helped in avoiding the political discriminations on their side. As Stowe preached about the slavery in her novel in the 1820s due to the response to the Missouri Compromise, she also became one of the leaders who seconded the awakening of the Christian revival movement that had a great influence on the social activism
In the novel, Beecher influences the life of a young girl who was a hireling from Kentucky and was now free since her paramour had brought her and permitted her to settle in Cincinnati. However, after a short time of stay, Beecher learnt that the master of the young lady was searching for her and would attempt by every one of the way to grab her and take her back to bondage in Kentucky. Her spouse, Professor Stowe and his brother by marriage got exhorted by Beecher to push the young lady away. They one night drove her in a secured wagon by unfrequented streets where nobody would see them into the nation to the home of a trusted companion where nobody would discover her. The action had saved the girl from getting taken back to slavery and the incident resulted to the basis of the fugitives escape in the Uncle Toms Cabin.
However, Beechers literary work also got influenced by politics. She got invited to give details on the novel, slavery, and emancipation across the cities in the North America and the Europe. Following this, she wrote the Key to Uncle Toms Cabin that she used as a defence for herself against the critics, some of which disagreed with the politics he had on the antislavery and her portrayal of the south or those who believed that she had not been drastic enough in describing the evils of the slavery (De Rosa, 2013). Some people claimed that as much as she was campaigning on the anti-slavery, and criticizing the practice, she had no solid reasons on the side effects or the disadvantages of connected with the slavery and this has what prompted the letter she wrote in 1853 to explain the reason that inspired her to write the novel. Despite the challenges, Harriet never gave up on her mission to ant-slavery. She took it upon herself even to meet the political leaders to talk to them about slavery. For instance, Harriet felt that President Abraham Lincoln was never quick in emancipating slaves at the onset of the American civil war and due to this, she met him in 1862 and urged him to take a decisive action to avert the practice (Franklin, 2012).
Even after writing the Uncle Toms cabin, she still continued to write and worked hard to improve her society for several days of her life. By doing this, she had impacts on the social lives of the members of the society. For instance, she contributed to the opening or the establishment of schools, the Hartford Art School that had enhanced the social lives of the individual members. It formed the first institution for the womens higher education and gave an extensive education not just preparing the women for the successful social lives. Also, there were other establishments such as helping to reinvigorate the art museum the Wadsworth Atheneum that improved the social relationships between the societies as well as yielding financial benefits and thus economic development.
On July 1, 1896, Beecher passed on after establishing herself as the major American Writer and a social activist. However, her fame almost faded away after her death. By the mid-20th century the civil right movement, James Baldwin came up with a scornful criticism of the novel, bringing it some ingrained racial stereotypes. However, due to the influences Stowe had on the lives of the public, the feminist movement of the 1970s had reclaimed her as a feminist figure and a figure of scholarly interest and had refuted the Baldwin claims on the Uncle Toms cabin (Beecher, 2013). Harriet life thus influenced most peoples lives especially the live of the children and the women by providing education and fighting for their rights to participate in the public affairs and this influenced the whole individuals in the public.
Beecher, C. (2013). Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt-Book. Courier Corporation.
De Rosa, D. C. (2012). Domestic abolitionism and juvenile literature, 1830-1865. SUNY Press.
Franklin, C. (2012). The female romantics: nineteenth-century women novelists and Byronism (Vol. 18). Routledge.
McFadden, M. H. (2015). Golden Cables of Sympathy: the transatlantic sources of nineteenth-century feminism. University Press of Kentucky.
Ryan, S. M. (2011). Stowe, Byron, and the Art of Scandal. American Literature, 83(1), 59-91.
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