Monday, April 18, 2011

Class Struggle in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”: A Marxist Approach

Narendra Amartha W.

The research is proposed to analyze a class struggle in Harriet Beecher stowe
Uncle Tom’s Cabin Using Marxist Approach. The research set two objectives: the
first is to analyze the novel in term of structural elements, and the second is to
analyze the novel based on the Marxist Perspective.
This study is a qualitative study, using the novel of Harriet Beecher Stowe
Uncle Tom’s Cabin as the object of analysis of the study. There are two kinds of
data sources: primary and secondary data. The primary data is the text of the novel
Harriet Beecher Stowe Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the secondary data is some
information about Uncle Tom’s Cabin taken from some books and articles related
to the subject. The method of collecting data in the research is library research by
summarizing, paraphrasing, and documenting the data. In analyzing the data, the
writer employs descriptive analysis.
The outcomes of the study are as follows: first, the novel illustrates a class
struggle at Harriet Beecher Stowe period, the condition of the upper class and the
lower class in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; second, the solution to
solve the problem of class struggle is equalizing both the upper class and the
lower class symbolized by a marriage. Marriage can erase the exploitation and
create a classless society.

A. Background of the Study
People in their lives always get in touch with other people or their
society. In reality there are a lot of problem that appears in their daily lives.
Life will become more complicated as more problem appear. Social, political
and economic problems cannot be avoided. Some people can drive and solve
the problems. But some person give different response; they may see the
problem as a border and find no way to solve the problem. It can cause a
decrease in the morality of the people in society.
People live to make their lives better than they did before. But, life is a
matter of choice. Sometimes life is not like what they want and they accept
that fate. People’s fate is conduced by themselves: they can change their fate
and make life become better thing as they wish, the way to change their fate
and to hope their wishes is called struggle for life.
Max and Engels write:
The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class
struggles. Free man and slave, patrician and plebeian. Lord and serf, guild-
master and journey man, in a word oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant
apposition to one another. Carried on an interrupted, now hidden, now open
fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstruction of
society at large, or in her common ruin of the contending classes.
(www.marxist.com). This statement is powerful that class and class conflict or
class struggle or class struggle begins as the basic concept in understanding
human societies. According to more (in Kerbo, 2003: 89). The key in
understanding human societies was “the material conditions determining their
production”, that is mode of production.
In a real life, a struggle can be seen in a society, the struggle varies,
such as struggle for justice, struggle to get a job, struggle for freedom, struggle
to get higher position in their profession, struggle to love and struggle to get
achievement. Many ways are used to make necessities come true. They can do
everything to struggle something they need. There are some people that use in
appropriate ways, someone tries to reach his own goal without paying
attention to other people. He on she tends to be selfish, thinking of himself.
Meanwhile, someone who uses appropriate ways, he tends to use his or her
honesty to reach something. For example, someone struggles to get the higher
position in his or her profession. In here they can improve his or her ability by
studying and working hard to get the higher position. This reality is portrait of
life in society.
All of struggles related to the material back ground are the struggle to
get the rank of class in society. This situation is caused by m
any factor, the
condition of material background has emerged two different groups in the
society, the rich and the poor. Marx (in Suseno, 1999: 113) said that society
consist of high class and lower class. The differences in material achievement
make the life style between the rich and the poor. Different the rich who was
the wealth will get higher education and prestige than the poor. Everything is
easy for the rich by using their wealth in feudal societies based on land and
agricultural production; the two great classes are the lord and the serf, or the
landed aristocracy and the peasant. Aristocracy own the land (the means of
production), while the serf and peasant own little but their labor power.
The gap between social classes in society is caused by many factors.
The main factor which causes this condition is that there are two groups in
society.Up- level class,and (http//:www.llbbleu.edu.cn/per/981/en/e-1-2.thm),
the low- level class.lower class is the
people who are ill educated and low- level workers. They have no power and
authority, so those force them to obey master, here, and are the upper class.
The upper class is the people who have high finance, Master authority, and
have many means of production to fulfill their needs. To fun the means of
production, the upper class need power of human resources to run them. Thus,
they pay low- level class. In Mark View. “The upper class called the bourgeois
and the lower class was called the proletariat” (Bresster, 1999: 212);
http//:www.llb bleu.edu.cn/per/981/en/e-1-2.htm).
Those gaps make the proletariat realize that they should struggle their
faith in order to get equal prosperity, they must struggle for it. Angleton
frequently shows “How the development of Marxist Theory always reflects
the state of the wo rking class struggle “(Selden, 1985: 45). Class struggle is
the struggle by the lower workers to revolt against the upper class to go to the
class less society; this condition is possible for them to make one step progress
to reach the equal prosperity in society.
These phenomena caused many novelist create literary works.
Literature has been an inseparable part within the history of man. As
reflections of human lives, literary works have been continually giving
considerable contribution in shaping the humans civilization. Many
intellectuals and writers have concealed their concern on the tragedies and the
delights of human lives within literary works. On their duty to reveal the truth
to the world, they face the risk and dangers and also have to sacrifice the
previous things the have such as: beliefs and even lies.
The fragment of man’s experience to escape from an oppression or
humanity is one of major themes contained in many literary works. In
common with other human activities, literary creation may raise many
question about motives, skills and other conditioning on leading to socially
valuable creation. The creation of literary work and social problem are
possibly represented on the basis of author’s background and experience or an
example of social problems above can be reflected in a novel. While giving a
human face to slavery and remarkably addressing the oppression of African
Americans “who so low, who so poor, who so despised as the American slave
?” (The life of Harriet Beecher Stowe pub. 1889, Ch. 16). She proved to be
lasting and influential literary work for political, spiritual and humanitarian
Harriet Elisabeth Beecher Stowe was born 14 June 1811 in the New
England town of Litchfield. Connection she was the seventh of Lyman and
Roxana Foote Beecher’s nine children. At the age of twelve. Harriet began to
attend the Harford female Seminary, an academy founded and run by her older
sister Catherine. In 1834, at the age of 23, Harriet’s firs story was published in
western monthly magazine. In 1851 Uncle Tom’s cabin first appeared as a
serial in an antislavery paper, the national era. Due to its popularity. It was
published next year as two volume book in 1853. A key to “Uncle tom’s
Cabin” was published to corroborate the novel fact’s when the American civil
war broke cut in 1861 Stowe wrote “it was god’s will that this nation-the
north as well as the south-should deeply and terribly suffer for the sin of
consenting to and encouraging the great oppressions of the south”. (The life
of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ch. 16). Harriet entered a prolific period of writing.
Pearl of one Island House and home papers. Little foxes, Nina garden,
Religious poems, Queer little people, The chimney corner, Men of our times,
old town folks, Little pussy willow, pink and white tyranny, Old town fireside
stories and my wife and I (the life of Harriet).
Uncle Tom’s Cabin, described by Stowe herself as a “series of
sketches” depicting the human cruelty slavery. It is open with a description of
Arthur Shelby’s Kentucky plantation during the antebellum period. Although
Shelby is not characterized as a cruel master, he has nevertheless incurred
serious debts, prompting him sell some slaves to avoid financial ruin. Mr.
Haley, the slave trader, purchases Uncle Tom, Shelby’s loyal servant since
childhood, and five year old Harry, a beautiful and talented child who sings
dances and mimes. Shelby regrets taking the child a way from his mother,
Eliza, as much as he regrets betraying Uncle Tom’s faithfulness. Eliza
overhears Mrs. Shelby a very religious woman. Protesting her husband’s
decisions and decides to flee the plantation with her son George, her husband
from a neighboring plantation has already left for Canada Via the
“Underground rail road”, a secret network of people who user run away slaves
to freedom in the north. Eliza plant to do the same, an tries to convince uncle
tom to save himself and come with her. Uncle Tom, however, must remain
loyal to his master, despite his betrayal and the risk of death at the cruel hands
of a new master, and does not accompany Eliza on her journey to the Ohio
Haley searches for Eliza in Vain, for spurred on by fear of losing her
child and reaches the river quickly. Amazingly, Eliza crosses the river by
jumping from one ice flow to the next. Upon reaching the shore in Ohio, Mr.
Symmes, a man who has observed her brave feat, listen to her story.
Fortunately, Symmes hates slaves trader and thus takes Eliza and Harry to the
house of senator Bird, where they receive food and lodging. Ironically, Bird
Just Voted for a bill prohibiting aid to fugitive slaves, but she senator is very
moves by Eliza’s story. He thus changes his convictions and takes the
runaway to a makes settlement, where the y stay with the halliday family.
Coincidentally, Eliza’s husband George has sought refuge in this very
community and the young family is reunited. The Quaker help ing the family
board a ship for Canada before Haley’s hired slave hunters, Loker and Mark,
can capture them.
Based on the facts above, the researcher is extremely inspired to
expose about slave to find his freedom, by giving the little of this research
paper “Class struggle in Harriet Stowe “Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Marxist
B. Literary Review
The previous researcher of Uncle Tom’s Cabin was Wita Setiyanti in
UMS (Muhammadiyah University of Surakarta) in her research paper entitled
“ Needs for Belongingness in Harriet Beecher Stowe Uncle Tom’s Cabin”: A
Humanistic Psychological Approach. The present writer analyzes the novel
using Marxist approach. The title is “Class struggle in Harriet Beecher Stowe
“Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Marxist Approach.
C. Problem Statement
Based on the research background above, the problem of the study is
“how class struggle is reflected in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s UNCLE TOM’S
D. Limitation of the Study
The researcher limits the study of class struggle on Marxist Approach.
It is emphasized on Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by using
Marxist Approach.
E. Objective of the Study
The objectives of this study are:
1. To analyze the novel in term of it’s structural elements
2. To analyze the novel based on Marxist approach
F. Benefit of the Study
By presenting this research paper, the writer hopes that it will give
some benefits as follows:
1.Theoretical Benefit
a. To give some information this can be used by the other researcher who
one interested in analyzing this literary work.
b. To give a contribution to other literary research in the study of Harriet
Beecher Stowe’s literary work.
2.Practical Benefit
a. For getting deeper understanding about Marxist issues in Harriet
Beecher Stowe’s Cabin Uncle Tom’s”.
b. For getting Bachelor degree of education in English department.
G. Research Method
1.Type of the Study
This research uses descriptive qualitative method.
2.Object of the Study
The object of the study is Harriet Beecher Stowe “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”
3. Type of the Data and the Data Source
In this study there are two sources data namely primary and secondary data
a. Primary data
The primary data source of the study is the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
b. Secondary data
Secondary data I gained from author biography, essay, comment,
historical information, the other book and thesis that are related to the
Technique of the Data collection
The collecting data technique is done through library research the data
collected from books and articles related to the topic. In order to make the
data more compete the writer is doing some steps. The necessary steps are
as follows:
a. Reading the novel and other books that are connected to the research
b. Finding out the important data
c. Arranging data info several parts based on it’s classification and
d. Developing data that are provided
Technique of the Data Analysis
The data are analyzed by using descriptive analysis. This is an
interpretation of the text and content analysis to get characteristic of the
data of Marxism analysis of Karl Mark theory of the novel “Uncle Tom Cabin”.
H. Paper Organization
The paper consists of six chapters. Chapter I is introduction the background of
the study, literary review, problem statement, limitation of the study, objective
of the study. Benefit of the study, research methodology and paper
organization. Chapter II presents the underlying theory consist of Marxist
theory, especially the nature of Marxist and the principle of Marxist. Chapter
III deals with the social background with all of aspect of the social reality of.
Chapter IV is the structural analysis of the novel by describing character and
characterization, setting a point of view, a plot and theme of the novel and a
brief discussion. Chapter V is Marxist Analysis deals with the problems in the
novel. Chapter VI contains conclusions and suggestion

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