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Aunt Phillis's Cabin Or, Southern Life As It Is   By: (1818-1887)

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Aunt Phillis's Cabin Or, Southern Life As It Is by Mary H. Eastman offers readers a captivating glimpse into the reality of Southern life during the mid-19th century. Set against the backdrop of slavery, this book delves deep into the complex relationships and dynamics between both enslaved individuals and their owners.

One of the most striking aspects of this book is its unflinching honesty. Eastman does not shy away from capturing the brutal realities of slavery, painting a raw and harrowing picture of the lives led by those held in bondage. Through the character of Aunt Phillis, a talented, intelligent, and resourceful slave, Eastman presents a nuanced perspective on the experiences of enslaved individuals. While the narrative does not romanticize slavery, it does give voice to the resilience and strength exhibited by these individuals in the face of unimaginable oppression.

In addition to its focus on slavery, the novel also explores the broader social and cultural aspects of Southern life. Eastman provides a detailed account of the daily routines, social customs, and interactions between slaves and their white counterparts. The author's extensive research is evident throughout the book, lending an air of authenticity to the narrative and offering readers valuable insights into the time period.

One of the book's notable strengths is its richly developed characters. Each individual is multi-dimensional, with their own unique perspectives and motivations. Aunt Phillis herself is a memorable protagonist, demonstrating intelligence, integrity, and remarkable resilience. The author expertly delves into both the personal conflicts faced by the characters and the wider societal issues at play.

However, at times the narrative can feel didactic, with Eastman using her characters to explicitly voice her own views on slavery and other social issues. While this can be effective in conveying her message, it occasionally detracts from the overall storytelling. Additionally, some readers may find the language and attitudes expressed by characters uncomfortable or offensive, particularly in their portrayal of African Americans.

Despite these minor drawbacks, Aunt Phillis's Cabin remains an important and thought-provoking novel. It offers readers a powerful exploration of the complexities of slavery and delves into the human experience within a deeply divided society. Mary H. Eastman has crafted a story that serves as a reminder of the atrocities of the past while also shedding light on the resilience and strength of those affected. This book is a valuable addition to anyone's reading list, providing a window into a time in history that should never be forgotten.

First Page:







Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1862, by


in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Transcriber's note: Minor typos in text corrected. Footnotes moved to end of text.


A writer on Slavery has no difficulty in tracing back its origin. There is also the advantage of finding it, with its continued history, and the laws given by God to govern his own institution, in the Holy Bible. Neither profane history, tradition, nor philosophical research are required to prove its origin or existence; though they, as all things must, come forward to substantiate the truth of the Scriptures. God, who created the human race, willed they should be holy like himself. Sin was committed, and the curse of sin, death, was induced: other punishments were denounced for the perpetration of particular crimes the shedding of man's blood for murder, and the curse of slavery. The mysterious reasons that here influenced the mind of the Creator it is not ours to declare. Yet may we learn enough from his revealed word on this and every other subject to confirm his power, truth, and justice... Continue reading book >>

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