In this paper, I will analyse American author Harriet Beecher Stowe´s way to give the reader the possibility to empathize with the protagonist Eliza in Uncle Tom´s Cabin. My textual basis will limit on the statement of account from the Norton Anthology of American Literature which chapter 7 and 9 comprises.
To understand the theses of my paper first I have to explain what empathy is and how it works. Ensuing I will discuss how the empathy occurs in the text and which rhetorical devices the author incorporates. Afterwards I will characterize the protagonist Eliza and explain why the author especially uses this kind of character.
At last I will explain what the Fugitive Slave Act actually meant and how the reader becomes clear about that the Fugitive Slave Act is not human.
2. The empathy in Harriet Beecher Stowe´s Uncle Tom´s Cabin
2.1 Empathy – a definition.
To define empathy I will refer to the book Empathy and the Novel by Suzanne Keen.
Suzanne Keen explains empathy in her book Empathy and the Novel as “[…] a vicarious, spontaneous sharing of affect, can be provoked by witnessing another´s emotional state, by hearing about another´s condition, or even by reading.“
This means that human beings are capable to share feelings, either in the negative or in the positive way. We have to distinguish between empathy and sympathy, because one might say they are very similar to each other. Sympathy means that we have different emotion which resemble to the feelings that the other person expresses. Empathy on the other hand means that we almost have the same feelings that the other person expresses. Suzanne Keen gives a good comparison in her book which goes:
I feel what you feel I feel a supportive emotion about your feelings
I feel your pain I feel pity for your pain
Referring to the use of empathy in literature, the principle of empathy is almost the same. The only main...