Idle comments on fire and hemlock books.

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at
Thu Jul 29 00:56:23 EDT 1999

>Stowe. Uncle Tom's Cabin.
>I found Jones"s use of this novel odd. You"ll recall that Tom asks Polly if she"s read it when 
>she proposes calling him Uncle Tom, and when she reads it she understands that he wouldn"t want 
>to be called that because Stowe"s Uncle Tom is a slave. She also identifies Leroy with the 
>overseer Simon Legree. I like the Leroy/Legree thing. To my American/Canadian eyes, however, 
>Jones"s use of "Uncle Tom" simply to suggest that Tom"s a slave is unnerving. The term "Uncle 
>Tom" has come to be used to signify someone who colludes with his or her people"s oppressor.
Interesting point.  I think DWJ probably doesn't have that association (not
being American) but I wouldn't dismiss the modern implication entirely.  You
remember that Tom first sees Polly simply as a tool to break free from
Laurel et. al., which is exactly the way THEY treat people--as things, as
tools. Which in itself is a form of collusion: Tom runs the risk of becoming
the very thing he's trying to escape.  So the "Uncle Tom" reference might
hit a little too close to home for comfort.

Melissa Proffitt
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