A Adolph Dolph
Augustine St. Clare’s personal slave, Adolph, is something of a dandy. He wears his master’s castoff elegant clothing and looks down on slaves who he thinks are less refined than himself.
B Senator John Bird
Senator Bird voted for the Fugitive Slave Law in Congress, for which his wife chastises him. When runaway slave Eliza Harris and her little child Harry come to their house seeking shelter, the senator is moved by her plight and changes his mind about the law, helping her to escape capture.
C Mrs. Mary Bird
The usually timid wife of Senator Bird surprises her husband by condemning slavery, arguing that it is un-Christian and anti-family. When Eliza Harris stops at their home in her flight from slavery, the Birds shelter her and help her to escape safely with little Harry.
D Misse Cassy
Misse Cassy is a slave owned by Simon Legree who has been Legree’s mistress since she came to his plantation as a young girl. Cassy befriends Tom after he comes to live on Legree’s plantation. Strong and dignified in spite of her enslaved state, Cassy calls herself “a lost soul” and tells Tom she does not believe in God. She is angry and bitter about her enslavement. Her two children were taken from her and sold, and she killed a third in its infancy to keep it from growing up in slavery. Cassy and young Emmeline finally escape from the plantation together after Tom dies and make their way to Canada. Cassy is reunited with Eliza Harris, whom she discovers to be her long-lost daughter.
E Aunt Chloe
Uncle Tom’s wife and the mother of his three children, Chloe is a slave and the head cook on the Shelbys’ Kentucky plantation. After Tom is sold down South, the Shelbys allow Chloe to hire herself out as a baker and save the money to buy Tom’s freedom. When she finally earns enough money to rescue him, it is too late: Tom has died.
Emmeline is a fifteen-year-old religious and innocent slave girl bought by Simon Legree to be his newest “mistress.” In that role she replaces Cassy.
G Phineas Fletcher
A former backwoodsman who married into the Quakers, Phineas Fletcher is rough and daring but kind. He helps George and Eliza Harris, their son Harry, and their friend Jim and his aging mother to escape the slave hunters.
H Rachel Halliday
Rachel is a gentle and maternal Quaker woman who shelters Eliza, George, and Harry as they hide from slave hunters.
I Simeon Halliday
Husband of Rachel Halliday, Quaker Simeon helps to plot George and Eliza’s escape from slave hunters.
J Eliza Harris Lizy
Famous for her desperate flight across the frozen Ohio River by jumping barefoot along sheets of ice, Eliza is the novel’s central symbol of motherhood. A refined and religious young slave woman owned by the Shelbys, Eliza is married to George Harris, a light-skinned slave on a neighboring plantation. Their only child, Harry, is the center of Eliza’s life. When she learns Harry has been sold to a slave trader, Eliza panics and risks everything to protect and to keep him. The fact that Eliza is of mixed blood and light-skinned would have made it even easier for the typical 19th-century reader to feel her plight.
K George Harris
The husband of Eliza and father of Harry, George is a slave belonging to the Harris family, neighbors of the Shelbys. Handsome and intelligent, George can no longer bear being a slave. His master, an ignorant man, is cruel to him, and slavery seems utterly irrational to George who exclaims, “My master! And who made him my master?… What right has he to me? I’m a man as much as he is. I’m a better man than he is.” Apologizing to his religious wife for his feelings, George explains to her that he cannot believe in a God who would let slavery exist. Unable to suffer any longer, George decides to run away to Canada. He and Eliza eventually find each other on their respective flights north. Once free, George obtains an education and ultimately takes his family to the African country Liberia to “find [him]self a people.”
L Harry Harris
Harry is the beautiful and bright little son of Eliza and George Harris who is carried by his mother across the frozen Ohio River to save him from being sold to a slave trader.
M Simon Legree
Simon Legree is Tom’s final master, the brutal owner of a desolate Louisiana plantation whose slaves are abused and hopeless. Legree’s name, which calls up images of greed, has become synonymous with evil and cruelty. His plantation represents the worst conditions that slavery can create: he beats, underfeeds, overworks, and bullies his slaves. He does not give them proper housing or warm enough clothing and does not allow those slaves who are religious to look to God as a power higher than him. Legree attempts to corrupt Tom by enticing him with power over the other slaves, but Tom’s Christian faith enables him to resist. Tom’s resistance infuriates Legree, and he threatens to kill Tom for not recognizing him-instead of God-as his master. Legree’s need for power and control over his slaves has made him a depraved monster, and his corruption exemplifies the demoralizing effects of slavery on slaveowners.
N Tom Loker
Tom Loker is one of the slave hunters who chase after George and Eliza Harris, their son Harry, and two of the Harrises’ friends.
Marks is the slave-hunting partner of Tom Loker.
One of Simon Legree’s slave henchmen, Quimbo participates in beating Tom to death, but then feels remorseful in the face of Tom’s prayers and piety and apologizes to Tom as he dies.
A slave of the Shelbys’ who is known for comically overblown oratory, Sam is chosen along with another slave, Andy, to help Haley chase Eliza after she runs away. Sam keeps tricking Haley in order to slow down the chase and give Eliza time to escape.
One of Simon Legree’s slave flunkeys, Sambo assists in the beating death of Tom and, as Tom dies, repents and becomes converted to Christianity.
S Mr. Arthur Shelby
Tom was given to Mr. Shelby when Arthur was a baby; Mr. Shelby is Tom’s first master. As the novel opens, Shelby is reluctantly making arrangements to sell Tom to Haley, the slave trader. Shelby is what is known in the world of slavery as “a kind master,” and his reluctance to sell Tom reveals him to be “a man of humanity.” He cares about Tom, but his financial difficulties make it impossible for him not to make this sale: he needs the money that valuable Tom will bring.
T Mrs. Emily Shelby
Mrs. Shelby, a woman of “high moral and religious sensibility and principle,” tries to convince her husband not to sell Tom and little Harry. She has raised Eliza from girlhood and has treated her as a particular favorite. Representative of the novel’s strong domestic and moral emphasis, Mrs. Shelby feels it is important to allow slave families to stay together.
U George Shelby
Young George Shelby, the only son of Mr. and Mrs. Shelby, loves the slaves with whom he has grown up-particularly Tom-and treats them almost like family. After Tom is sold to Haley, George vows to bring him back to his family one day and declares that he will never buy or sell slaves when he grows up. A few years after Tom leaves the Shelbys, George becomes the master of the Shelby plantation when his father dies suddenly. George nearly fulfills his promise to Tom, arriving at Legree’s plantation just as Tom is dying. Upon his return home after burying Tom, George frees the slaves on the Shelby place.
V Alfred St. Clare
Augustine St. Clare’s twin brother and his physical and spiritual opposite, Alfred, a slaveholder, believes that the Anglo-Saxon race is “the dominant race of the world.”
W Augustine St. Clare
St. Clare is Tom’s second master, for which Tom feels fortunate. Sensitive, kind, and contemplative, St. Clare adores his daughter, Eva; tolerates his demanding wife, Marie; enjoys debating political issues with his cousin Ophelia; and indulges his slaves. Reflecting his name, St. Clare is “gay, airy, [and] handsome,” but he is something of a fallen idealist. As a very young man, St. Clare’s nature had been one of “romantic passion,” but the defining event of his life was his loss, through misunderstanding, of his one true love. To his cousin’s consternation, St. Clare refuses to read the Bible or to call himself a Christian. In spite of the fact that he is a “heathen” slaveowner, St. Clare has surprisingly humanitarian views that come to light when he discusses slavery and race relations with Ophelia, Marie, or his brother Alfred. St. Clare tells Tom that he plans to emancipate him, but he is unexpectedly killed before he can do so.
X Evangeline St. Clare
Little Eva’s full name, Evangeline, is a pointed reference to her evangelism, an activity which she shares with Tom. Eva is the delicately beautiful and angelic daughter of Augustine and Marie St. Clare who befriends Tom and inspires love in all who know her. Often discussed as “Christlike,” Eva does not seem meant for this world. She is described as being “spirit-like,” with “large, mystic eyes,” is capable of converting even the seemingly amoral Topsy to Christianity, and is persistent in her talks about going to heaven. She feels deeply for her fellow creatures, particularly those less fortunate than herself, such as her family’s slaves. She often speaks to her father, mother, and cousins Henrique and Ophelia about her hatred of slavery. Just before she is to die, Eva calls all the members of the household to her bedside to tell them she is dying, to implore them to become Christians, and to give each of them a lock of her hair as a keepsake. Her deathbed scene, one of the most famous in literature, is the height of Victorian domestic melodrama, with Little Eva struggling for breath as her loved ones surround the bed, tears streaming down their faces.
Y Henrique St. Clare
While visiting his cousin Eva, spoiled Henrique is cruel to his young slave, Dodo, and sees nothing wrong with his behavior even when Eva reproves him for it.
Z Marie St. Clare
The selfish wife of Augustine St. Clare and mother of little Eva, Marie is a faded beauty who commands attention by complaining constantly about feeling ill. She becomes jealous of the attention Eva receives when she is dying. Cold-hearted, Marie views slaves as less than human and believes that her sensitive, kind husband never does enough for her.
AA Ophelia St. Clare
Miss Ophelia is Augustine St. Clare’s middle-aged, unmarried cousin from Vermont whom he brings back to New Orleans to help look after Eva. Ophelia, a Christian, is a product of her orderly, quiet, precise New England home, and in her eyes the greatest sin is “shiftlessness.” She loves her cousin Augustine in spite of his lackadaisical ways and the fact that he is not a Christian, and she often debates the issues of slavery and race relations with him. Although she deplores the practice of slaveowning, she holds prejudices against black people and would prefer to have little to do with them.
AB Ruth Stedman
Ruth is the young, sweet Quaker mother who helps to minister to Eliza and Harry after they escape from Haley.
AC Uncle Tom
Tom is a slave who lives first with the Shelbys of Kentucky, then with the St. Clares of New Orleans, and finally on the plantation of Simon Legree in Louisiana. At the Shelbys’, where Tom holds the affectionate name of Uncle Tom, he is married to Chloe, and they have three children. Stowe tried to show in this novel how slaves were capable of creating loving, Christian families, just like free whites. Uncle Tom’s cabin is all hearth and family, with Chloe cooking at the stove, the children tumbling about on the floor, and Tom bouncing the baby on his knee. Tom is a converted Christian, and he is looked up to by the other slaves as a religious figure. He succeeds in converting others to his beloved Christianity. At the St. Clares’, Tom and little Eva share a powerful belief in God and heaven.
Tom’s faith is put to the ultimate test when he comes under Legree’s power: The fiendish Legree vows to corrupt Tom, asking him “An’t I yer master?… An’t yer mine, now, body and soul?” to which Tom replies, “My soul an’t yours, Mas’r!… It’s been bought and paid for by one that is able to keep it…” Legree is unable to disturb Tom’s religious convictions.
When Tom dies at the hands of Legree and his henchmen, Quimbo and Sambo, his death is Christlike as he forgives his tormentors as well as converting them even as his blood drips from their hands. Uncle Tom’s name has become synonymous in American culture with fawning and flattering behavior, particularly on the part of a black person towards a white person. Tom is indeed the gentle, devoted, trustworthy slave to his kind masters, Mr. Shelby and Mr. St. Clare, but these qualities stem more from his Christian beliefs than from a self-serving lack of dignity. Viewed in the context of the entire novel, which relies heavily for its success on the 19th-century reading audience’s Christianity, Tom serves as a symbol of the support and sustenance that Christianity provides even in the most dire of circumstances.
Topsy is a young slave girl who has been so abused and neglected by previous owners that she thinks cruel treatment is her birthright. Purchased for Ophelia by her cousin Augustine as a kind of educational experiment, Topsy is seen by Augustine as a blank slate: undisciplined, uneducated, and ready to be trained. Although reluctant to have anything to do with Topsy at first, Ophelia finally takes her on as a sort of project. Believing herself wicked and irreformable, Topsy proves a challenge to Ophelia’s orderly ways, but she is finally “converted” to goodness by the Christlike kindness and concern of little Eva.
AE Mr. Wilson
Mr. Wilson is the factory owner who had employed George Harris while George was a slave. George meets Mr. Wilson again while he is en route to the North, attempting to escape slavery.