The setting was such an important influence because, like I said before, it took place down in the South. This is where slavery was at its peak and was used and abused by almost every citizen. The black race was treated harshly just because of their color. They were beaten, over-worked, and disrespected. Most of them were illiterate as well which did not help one bit. In turn they could not make intelligent decisions, better yet pursue what they wanted. Even if they had that ability though, that option was not available because they were “black”.
The details of the setting that influenced the actions of the characters were, again, the time period and where it took place. However this was not the only thing that persuaded the characters because they influenced each other. The citizens followed the crowd and did not have their own opinions. If some person’s idea differed from that of the majority, he/she would not dare speak up because they feared rejection. Legree was one of the people looked up to and respected even though what he was dong was totally wrong. Since he had power and money though, he was admired. The only three people that actually did take a stand, if you will, were George Shelby Jr., Augustine St. Clare, and his daughter, Evangeline. These three characters opposed slavery and tried to do something about it. (Unfortunately, though, the St. Clare’s efforts were diminished because they both died). They were the citizens that should have been looked up to and followed.
Specific examples that show the setting’s influence on the characters were all over the book. The next three excerpts will give you an illustration of them.
This first passage was at the very beginning of the book when Mr. Legree was inside of the Shelby’s house, trying to make a deal on slaves. See, the Shelby’s were in debt at the moment and the only way that they could make some money was to sell some of their slaves. This family was very nice indeed to their slaves and took care of them well so the last thing that they wanted to do was sell them off, but in order to keep the plantation functioning, money was needed. Therefore, Mr. Legree was going to buy ten male slaves of his choice. One out of his ten happened to be Eliza’s (Mrs. Shelby’s housekeeper) little son, Harry. He was only buying Harry to anger Eliza because he had actually wanted her, but could not have her. This next passage describes his personality and that of the other slave traders.
Lor bless ye, yes! These critters an’t like white folks, you know; they gets over things, only manage right. “Now, they say”, said Haley, assuming a candid and confidential air, “that this kind o’ trade is hardening to the feelings; but I never found it so. Fact is, I never could do things up the way some fellersmanage the business. I’ve seen ’em as would p7ll a woman’s child out her arms, and wset him up tos ell, and she screechin’ like mad all the time; — very bad policy – damages the article – makes ’em quite unfit for service sometimes. I knew a real handsome gal once, in Orleans, as was entirely ruined by this sort o’ handling. The fellow that was trading for her didn’t’ want her handling. The fellow that was trading for her didn’t’ want her baby; and she was one of your real high sort, when hr blood was up. I tell you, she squeezed up her child in her arms, and talked, and went on real awful. It kinder makes my blood run cold to think on’t; and when they carried off the child, and