Uncle Tom's Cabin
By: Mark Jolas and Harrison Moore

Project Part One

Novel: Uncle Tom's Cabin

Movie Version Viewed: Uncle Tom's Cabin (1987)

Brief Synopsis:

A Kentucky farmer named Arthur Shelby faces the prospect of losing all of his stuff so he decides to sell some of his slaves. Uncle Tom leaves his family for a boat on the Mississippi to be transported to a slave market. On the boat, Tom meets a girl named Eva, and when Eva falls into the river, Tom dives in to save her. Her father gratefully agrees to buy Tom.  After Tom has lived with them for two years, Eva gets sick and dies. Her death has a profound effect on everyone who knew her.  Some things that result are that Ophelia starts to love slaves, Topsy feels closer to others, and St. Clare sets Tom free.  Marie sells Tom to a plantation owner named Simon. Tom is taken to rural Louisiana with a group of new slaves where his faith is sorely tested by hardships. During this time he has visions of Christ and Eva. He encourages Cassy to escape and she takes Emmeline with her.  Legree orders that Tom will be beaten. When Tom is near death, he forgives Legree, proving how great of a man he is. George Shelby arrives to buy Tom’s freedom, but can only watch as Tom dies a martyr’s death.

George Shelby eventually returns to the farm, where all slaves are set free because of Tom. He encourages them to think about Tom’s sacrifice every time they look at his cabin and live a great Christian life, just as Tom did.

Relevant Themes:

The Moral Power Of Women: The book shows that women have a weird sense of moral right and wrong and can convince men for social change. These women can convince men that slavery is wrong.

Racism: The novel shows that slavery wrong and that a superior race is unfair and dysfunctional to society. Blacks have the same relationship with God as the whites.  Our hero, Tom, happens to be nobler than any of the whites in the story. It is suggested that black people have equal rights and an equal shot at Christian afterlife.

Suffering: The story displays the struggles of Slavery that include hard physical labor and beatings. Other types of abuse are also shown, such as being torn from family and forced performance of tasks that never benefit the slave.

Important Scenes

An important scene is when Uncle Tom's masters begin to get more strict as he encourages Cassy and Emmeline to escape. He refuses to help Legree hunt them down and tension builds because of this.

An essential part of the book was the sequence of events surrounding Uncle Tom’s renewal of religious faith and his death.

After these events George Shelby frees his slaves and shows the impact Tom has on other people. This was motivated by Tom's actions and ultimately his death.

Movie Review:

This story is inspirational with a black slave (Tom) and the people he encounters and his struggles for freedom.

Slavery is a rough subject, and this movie displays the story of one slave's life and provides examples of how he interacts kindly and courageously with others despite his situation of being enslaved.  Although there was a bit of violence, it doesn't rely on an excess overly violent and graphic scenes like many mainstream movies with slavery or war themes to be entertaining.  Instead, this movie relied on the drama, history, character development and the depiction of how precious freedom is to be captivating.

I thought the acting was good and there were a few scenes that were funny, like the scene where a slave owner gets punched and shoved into a puddle. Lastly, the movie had some momentum to it, which made the film engaging mostly throughout.

I thought it was unnecessary when the slave master was whipping Tom. This was a disturbing scene and ended up not working as effectively as less stress on the gore of the act and more on the meaning of why this was happening in this time period.

It was an educational and appreciated film and overall displayed the book nicely.

Project Part Two - Modern interpretation

       Uncle Tom's cabin starts as Mr. Shelby, the manager of a butler service and Eliza’s ex-husband, discusses with the wealthy business professional and home owner, Mr. Haley, how many butlers he will need to relocate in order to rid the company of its debt. Despite misgivings, Mr. Shelby decides to reassign Tom, a valuable worker, and Harry, his misbehaved 17 year son who works for the company part time and also the son of his ex-wife’s, head butler Eliza. Eliza overhears that her son is being moved and reacts by making an impulsive decision to take him and run away to Mexico that night in an attempt to avoid separation by his cruel father. Earlier that day, her current husband, George Harris, had let her know that he planned to leave the company, and she hopes they will both be able to escape and reunite in Mexico, their home country. As Eliza takes off, the owner of the house, Mr. Haley, follows her in hope of having a conversation regarding the relocation situation. Once avoiding Mr. Haley, Eliza goes to Texas by hitchhiking with a family in an RV. Mr. Haley sends his best men after her to try and convince her to stay with the company, and returns to make sure Tom is still staying with the company at their most needed time.

      Tom and Mr. Haley leave for the South for a conference of etiquette. While traveling cross country, the two encounter a damaged car sprawled to the side of the highway. Tom saves a little girl, Eva, from the wreckage. Out of respect and gratitude, the girl's father decides to hire Tom to be his daughter's personal butler with a much better pay. Tom becomes well acquainted with little Eva. They discuss Christian faith on a routine basis. When Eva is diagnosed with terminal cancer, she calls all her workers, friends, and family together to give them a monologue about God’s love for them. She gives each of them one of her blonde curls so they will remember her.

    Eliza and her husband George are eventually reunited in an RV camp. They then cross into Mexico successfully, though not without a couple of run-ins with hobos and thief's on the way.

    Augustine St. Clare is thoroughly distraught over his daughter Eva’s death, along with the houseworkers who had become very good friends with her over the years. St. Clare promises Tom a high pension retirement, before he finishes arranging everything, he is killed in a tragic car jacking. Tom is left jobless, along with the other St. Clare house workers.

    Tom luckily lands a new job and his boss is Simon Legree, an old orthodox man who works his house workers day in and out until they quit, then hires new ones in a never-ending cycle. Even with Legree’s treatment, Tom maintains his ever so honest behavior. Legree is the hardest on Tom so that he can use Tom as head of the house staff, but Tom is adamant on staying true to himself and doesn't let the old man get to him. When Tom encourages two female maids, whom Legree uses as mistress’, to leave the home, Legree kicks Tom to out of the house. Tom is gravely old at this point and can not afford any healthcare so he is forced to the streets. It takes a few days for him to die all alone on the streets from a robbery, and in the meantime, Mr. Shelby arrives to give Tom a huge sum Mr. St. Clare left for him in his hidden will since he was the only man that knew where Tom was at the time. Unfortunately, it was too late. Instead, George helps in the funeral of Tom then leaves and takes the money for himself.

The two female maids who Tom convinced to leave Legree’s house, Cassy and Emmeline, end up on the same bus as . Cassy shares stories of Tom and his finest kind heart. Another woman on the bus tells her story of Tom to George as well, and it turns out that she is George Harris’s sister, moving around many houses and estates to find work. George Shelby hears that George Harris married Eliza and they both escaped to Mexico. Cassy, overhearing the story, is shocked to learn that Eliza is her daughter, who was taken by CPS years ago.

The two women travel to Mexico together and are reunited with their families. Although Tom’s life ended in tragedy, there is great joy among these house workers who worked for others more fortunate than them and in their devotion to life and their everlasting faith.

Project Part Three

TOM: Tom is the protagonist and is a very good man. Tom continues to maintain faith throughout the story. The many hardships that Tom experiences call his belief but he overcomes this.  Tom is a black worker and has the uncanny ability to stay happy in bad times. Uncle Tom plays a crucial role when he decides to keep up his faith even when he is being treated poorly and unjustly.  Tom should be wearing nice clothing that a butler would wear.

Perfect Actors: Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington

SIMON: Tom’s boss who is quite mean and evil.  Legree promotes hatred among his workers. Simon never changes his opinion and is a close-minded person. His personality must be cruel and stubborn throughout to display the true savagery of this character. This is displayed in several important scenes including where he works Tom ruthlessly until he passes out. Simon should be wearing nice clothes and have shiny shoes.

Perfect Actors: Tom Hardy, James Spader

ELIZA: Eliza is working for the butler service and is horrified when she hears that her Ex-husband and manager, Mr. Shelby, is sending their son, Harry, away to boarding school. She is afraid of his power and what he can do so she decides to run away with him back to their home country of Mexico. She is a woman full of life and hope and is a true motherly character throughout. She is poor and broke once she leaves so she is in tattered clothes rather than quality butler apparel.

Perfect Actresses: Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried

MR. ST. CLAIRE: A very wealthy and fairly young man who has a kind heart for the butlers. He is touched by Tom and the care he has done for his daughter. His good heart and tragic death are all important to the story to show how much he truly cared about Tom. He is always dressed in high end apparel and lives in a wealthy enclave.

Perfect Actors: Hugh Jackman, Jon Hamm

EVA: A young innocent girl who is strong in her faith. She lives a very wealthy lifestyle but is very humble and looks up to the people that work at her house. With her strong christian faith she is able to accept death and help those around her emotionally heal. Eva is always dressed nice and cute in pastel dresses and a bow in her hair.

Perfect Actresses: Isabelle Allen, Aryana Engineer

Part IV

  • Setting - Modern, rich, northeast mansions and large estates sprawled across acres of land. Butler quarters of high quality but it is not the same as the main house. Technology very prevalent since this takes place in the 21st century.
  • Costumes - Classy attire of the modern age, Brooks Brothers Butler outfits, Gucci and Prada Shoes. All high class with nothing sticking out until later in the movie when in the south.
  • Music - Django Unchained OST - Track 8 - LUIS BACALOV - LA CORSA (2ND VERSION)
  • LINK HERE!!!!
  • - Classy background music during dinners and subtle conversations

    - Frank Sinatra- strangers in the night

    -Ella Fitzgerald- someone to watch over me

    -Frank and Nancy Sinatra- something stupid

    -Michael buble- the way you look tonight

    An example of the setting.
    An example of clothing

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