Essay Miss Ophelia in Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin
Being the only Northerner to take a focal role in Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Miss Ophelia is a realistic adaptation of the ideal woman that Harriet Beecher Stowe proposes with the images of the other perfect women. She is educated, single, independent, ambitious, and motivated by a certain sense of duty. Unlike the other women in the novel, she is the one with the most masculine mannerisms: she relies on her thoughts rather than her emotions to make decisions about her life and political beliefs. However Miss Ophelia also appears to be the audience that Stowe is partially addressing -- those who feel like they know something about slavery, but who haven’t truly analyzed their own …show more content…
After Eva’s death Miss Ophelia comes to a higher understanding of slavery. Suddenly she realizes that it is wrong, in a rather real sense to her, because it does not give the slaves a chance for salvation. Her wall of feelings of racial superiority is finally broken down by the friendship she had formed with Eva.
“Miss Ophelia felt the loss; but, in her good and honest heart, it bore fruit unto everlasting life. She was more softened, more gentle; and though equally assiduous in every duty, it was with a chastened and quiet air, as one who communed with her own heart not in vain. She was more diligent in teaching Topsy…did not any longer shrink from her touch, or manifest an ill-repressed disgust, because she felt none. She viewed her now through the softened medium that Eva’s hand had first held before her eyes, and saw her only an immoral creature, whom god had sent to be led by her to glory and virtue…The callous indifference was gone; there was now sensibility, hope, desire, and the striving for good. (p. 266-7)” Miss Ophelia came into her cousin’s household naïve and untainted with much true knowledge nor contact with the frowned upon race. Submerging herself into the Southern culture, she notices and can categorize two types of white people: those